- 3 ripe-firm Bartlett or Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into ½-inch-thick slices
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the baking pan
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup unsulfured (light) molasses
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger
Crystallized ginger is a good way to get intensely spicy flavor into baked goods. As pears are also compatible with warm spices, they are a natural addition to this comforting dessert. The gingerbread is as versatile as it is delicious, and can be eaten out of hand for a quick snack, or gussied up with warm caramel sauce and whipped cream for an impressive dessert.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Spread the pears in the pan.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a hand-held electric mixer set on high speed until the mixture is pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Beat in the molasses, then the eggs, one at a time.
- With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour mixture in three equal additions, alternating with two equal additions of the boiling water, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. The batter will be thin. Stir in the crystallized ginger. Pour into the pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the gingerbread comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire cake rack and let cool in the pan until warm, about 30 minutes. Cut and serve warm, turning each slice upside down so the pears are visible.