Monday, September 28, 2009


"Keep your face to the sunshine
and you cannot see the shadow.
It's what sunflowers do."
~ Helen Keller

~ Another treasured autumn treat from 1991 issue of Bon Appetit
('Baking a cake in a skillet is a time-honored tradition. French cooks use one for tarte Tatin, which this dessert resembles; here in the U>S> it was the way to go with pineapple upside-down cakes back in the fifties.")
1 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces
1 1/3 cups AP flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup corn or vegetable oil
1 small, unpeeled, coarsely grated pear
1 Tbsp. grated peeled fresh ginger (1 tsp. ground)
4 peeled, cored pears (cut into 6 wedges)
good vanilla/vanilla bean ice cream
  • Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350-degrees.
  • Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over bottom of heavy 12-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) with 2 1/2 inch high sides. Add butter pieces to skillet. Place skillet in oven until butter melts, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in bowl. Using electric mixer, beat in eggs, and oil. Mix in grated pear and ginger.
  • Remove skillet from oven; whisk butter and sugar until sugar dissolves. Arrange pear wedges in skillet in flower pattern, fitting wedges closely together and placing any remaining wedges in center. Pour batter over pears, spreading evenly. Bake until cake is springy to touch and tester inserted into center comes our clean, about 1 hour.
  • Transfer skillet to rack and cool 20 minutes. Loosen edges of cake with knife. Place large plate over skillet. Using oven mitts, firmly grasp plate and skillet. Carefully invert skillet, turning out cake onto plate. Remove skillet. Serve cake warm with ice cream. (12 servings)


Roses and Lilacs said...

Sunflowers always make me smile. Wonderful photos. I'm not a fan of pineapple so a pear upside down cake sounds really good.


Barbee' said...

Amazing sunflower pics! You mentioned the pineapple version of the upside down cake, and wow! did it bring back memories. My mother cooked them in her black iron skillet and had a cherry in the center of each slice of pineapple.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Oh, Joey, beautiful creative collages! From all that yellow, I feel warmer!

joey said...

Sunflowers like daisies seem to make everyone smile, Marnie :) Pears are so yummy this time of year so this is a timely dessert. Are you enjoying our wonderful weather ... 55, windy and rain :)

Thanks Barbee ... I LOVE making pineapple upside down cake in my mother's old iron skillet (my favorite pan) and, oh yes, with cherries. Also a pear lover, this version is delicious. Enjoyed viewing your project ... wow!

joey said...

... and we need the warmth here today, Tatyana! After a picture perfect day yesterday, I do believe the chill of autumn has found us. Thank you for you kind words.

Pat said...

Miss them this year :(

Shady Gardener said...

Yum! Sounds wonderful, Joey! I must ask you - how in the world do you make all these fantastic collages?? It's always very beautiful over here, too. :-)

Gail said...

Joey, What a feast of golden yellows...and a for sure must make recipe. You have me running down memory lane to the first time I made Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Eighth grade home was too funny. We made fudge the same day. gail

Lucy Corrander said...

Not sure about looking into the sun - I might not see shadows but I wouldn't see where I was going either; nor what was looming up behind me.

But I would like to look at a big field of sunflowers - something I've never had the chance to do.


joey said...

Because of the late spring, fields still look inviting, Patsi. And there are always bouquets to choose for still shots. Happy Autumn!

Dearest Shady ~ with all the wonderful software available, e.g. Photoshop or Picasa (very user friendly) these photos are very easy to compose. Always a joy to connect with, thank you :)

You lucky gal, Gail! Home-Ec was not even offered in my small Catholic high school (37 in my class but transferred senior year to a class of over 600 ~ graduated top in my class). So (memory lane) I practiced cooking at home (please note the adventuresome cook that I am, I struggled through a L O N G journey from cooking the worst meals anyone had ever tasted to some of the best ~ fudge and cooking with my Chaney Tru-Temp Deep Fat Frying & Candy thermometer, forever a challenge)!

I hear you, Lucy! Thanks for stopping by ... I so enjoy viewing life through your eyes!

Kathy @ Sweet Up-North Mornings... said...

Joey...good to hear from you...sunflower shots are spectacular...I love how their little faces always follow the sun....very respectful of them don't you think to always have their heads tilting toward the sun!!! I feel like a sunflower head in the winter here...Always looking for the sun...hope it shines more often this winter then last, xoxo~athy @ Sweet Up-North Mornings...

Sweet Home and Garden Carolina said...

Wow, gorgeous photos, Joey and I love the quote of my fellow famous Alabamian. My neighbor in Alabama taught at the Helen Keller Institute for the Blind and took me there once to see how they teach. It was an experience I'll never forget.

joey said...

Hello Kathy ... seems like your sunny disposition follows the sun! I'm looking forward to visiting you and our Michigan connections.

Hi Carolyn and thank you ~ not surprised you took note of this quote ... actually, it is quietly in honor of my sister, Nancy, who lost her vision throughout her horiffic and courageous battle these past few years. It was difficult to compose since I still am heavy of heart. Thank you, dear friend.

bg_garden said...

Super fun collage with the sunflowers. Mine have all died back by this time of the season.
Keep going strong dear Garden Friend!

Muhammad khabbab said...

Joey, sunflower shots are spectacular. We have lots of them gone wild. The recipe seems delicious. thanks for sharing.

Frances said...

Oh those sunflowers are stirring my heart, Joey! So is the cake recipe. Pineapple upside down cake was one of the very first cakes from scratch I ever made, so easy and foolproof. This one sounds wonderful. The light is just magical this time of year, isn't it?

Unknown said...

The cake sounds utterly delicious, Joey, but it was the photos that made me smile. Especially that first one--I want it as a desktop wallpaper! Or framed on my wall as a photograph. Are you selling these works of art? Because you totally should be. They are just so wonderful.

joey said...

Hugs and your kind words mean a lot, Bren. Thank you, dear friend. We're hangin' in there :) Now what happened to those warm autumn garden days!

Thank you very much, Muhammad khabbab. I think sunflowers tug at everyone's heart ... plus they're delightful to photograph!

With much work to do in the garden, Frances, I'm craving some of that 'magical light'! The past 2days have been pretty ... hum ... ugly. Of course, that leaves more time for creative fun in the kitchen and I love that too (so does Mr. Ho-Hum)!

joey said...

Thank you, dear jodi, a huge honor coming from you and your keen eye! I would be delighted to share it with you (popped over hunting for your e-mail but couldn't find it). Actually, Mr. Ho-Hum secured 2 domain names (one for my photos and the other for my novel) over 2 years ago that I have yet to get up and going. My sister's health issues over the past few years took precedence. Hopefully, I will make time this winter to get both up and running (am anxious to kick DIARY OF A HO-HUM HOUSEWIFE out the door and, in the meantime, perhaps sell a few photos!) Thanks for your support, dear friend.

inadvertent farmer said...

Ohhhh I love it when you are so creative with your photos! LOVE them...and upside down just about anything is scrumptious,

I'm off to look up caponata...Kim

joey said...

Hi Kim and big thanks regarding the photos. I'm with you on anything upside down ... reminds me a bit of my life of late :) After seeing your devine eggplant, I've a hankerin' for my roasted caponata ... the rich aroma, perfect for autumn. (I've never posted it since, like many of my recipes, I've never taken time to write them down!)

lindalou said...

The pear dessert sound yummy. I love fruit desserts lately. Just posted my Basic Fruit Sauce recipe today, so I must have fruit desserts on my mind as well.

Love the sunflower pictures. You are very talented.

Jan said...

Oh Joey, I knew I would find something uplifting when I came over to see you! Your photos and verse really touched me; so lovely. I like being reminded about things like that...I mean, if the sunflower doesn't give up, then neither should we! Always keeps our heads up and look for the light, right?!

joey said...

Thank you for your kind comment, Lindalou. Regarding fruit, I hear you, especially with the plentiful harvest and the vivid colors shouting ... "Eat Me!"

Oh sweet Jan ... how kind! You of all people see the light. Hope all is well, dear friend.

Kerri said...

Hello dear Joey,
Thanks for stopping by and for your warm words....always welcome :)
Your wonderful photos of the golden sunflower field are so warming on this day of nasty weather. Ours sounds just the same as yours. I'm craving sunshine because, like you, I still have much to do in the garden.
Yum, that pear cake sounds delicious!
Happy autumn to you!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Awesome collages!

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

I'm looking at your sunflower photos thinking that could easily be a field in France.

You probably know that in French they're called Tournesol. literally 'turn to the sun'

Great images Joey

Anonymous said...

There is nothing more lovely to me than a field of sunflowers! Where did you find this treasure?

Rose said...

Oh my goodness, Joey, that field of sunflowers is gorgeous! I had just a couple shorter sunflowers this year, but I didn't plant them in a very good place--I noticed Husband had mowed them down last weekend:( Maybe if I plant a "field" next year he'll avoid mowing them down.
I could have used this recipe last year when I had so many pears! I wonder if the ones I froze would work?

F Cameron said...

Love the sunflowers! As others have said, sunflowers are "happy" flowers - lots of big smiles!

The recipe sounds wonderful! What a perfect autumn desert.


Jane O' said...

I love the yellow colors, so bright on this gloomy day here.

Congratulations on your win at Blotanical! You truly deserve it,

joey said...

Hi Sue ... love doing them ... makes me smile :)

Thanks Rob ... I should know that but a perfect word for sunflowers!

Thank you for your warm words on this dreary day, Kerri. We are heading to the lake tomorrow to pull docks and put boats and furniture to bed ~ weather prediction for weekend ... sleet!

Where many treasures are found, Robin ... surrounding beautiful Hubbard Lake!

Though large, I don't have room for a beautiful display of sunflowers in my gardens, Rose. Only fresh pears will do for his dessert ... frozen too soupy :)

Sweet Home and Garden Carolina said...

Hey Joey,

Just noticed that you won the Blotanical Award for Best Michigan Blog. Congratulations. Well deserved.

cherry said...

Congratulations on your Blotanical Win Miss Joey I missed you.
~ hugs, Cherry

Anna/Flowergardengirl said...

Congrats on your blotanical award---you always make my heart sing!

Nutty Gnome said...

Aah Joey, sunflowers always make me smile - they're just such happy flowers!

your recipe maes me wish I liked pears !!! :)

marmee said...

love these shots of sunflowers...they are always cheery...mine have all faded away. happy fall.

Meems said...

Dear Joey,
So good to see you back in the swing of things. You always photograph with classy style. Those sunflowers in fields are stunning.

Congrats on your 'best Michigan blog' award... more than deserving!
Blessings and hugs,

joey said...

I agree, Cameron ... sunflowers are delightful. Late seasonal bloomers, they warm their faces in the waning sunshine, reminding us of the long winter months ahead.

Thank you, dear Jane Marie. A bit shocked but delighted to see my name next to yours as a finalist especially with my long absence after my sister died. Just returned home after a long day, surprised to see the Blotanical honor.

Quite a surprise, Carolyn, especially after the long, hard summer ... now, can we talk about your lovely daughter, Cathy! Just returned from her site (Outside In), catching the note on your blog regarding your dual Blotanical nominations. You must be thrilled ... thanks for popping in with your kind words. It's been a joy getting to know you over the years (now that fall has arrived, be on the lookout for some good bourbon recipes).

... and Kudos to you, dear Miss Cherry, you sweet 'Georgia Peach'! Congratulations and hugs to you also.

... as you make my heart sing also, dear Anna. Congratulations on your numerous nominations and sweet awards. Your warm friendship has sustained me and for this, I am most thankful. My thoughts are with you also.

Hi Nutty ~ What! You don't like pears! Maybe this dessert will change your mind :) Perhaps Himself would enjoy it! And yes, sunflowers are happy flowers and I bet if they could speak they would have a sunny disposition ... just like you!

Shady Gardener said...

Congratulations to you, Congratulations to you, Congratulations to yoooooouuuuu! Congratulations on being nominated Michigan's Best Blog! :-) Yea!

joey said...

Yes, here also, Marmee. It's hard to say goodbye to the garden (and as much as I love seeing their bright faces in spring, hate the thought of planting bulbs).

Blessings, hugs, and kudos to you, dear Meems, most deserving of the honor ... Best Florida Blog. Friends for a long time, I remember you were the 1st to welcome me to Blotanical. We both serve as passionate ambassadors for the awesome state that we each love!

joey said...

Thanks dear Shady ... you're a dear (wink)!