Pear Upside Down Brownie

(a recipe experiment from the mind of Dana!)

It starts with a basic premise: something like pineapple upside down cake.

But with pears. ‘Tis the season! Also, pears are my most favorite fruit. So, pear upside down cake.

…but the pears should be poached, that way some other good flavors can get in with the pears, and they won’t still be raw when the cake is baked. Maybe cinammon, or honey. Mm, poached pear upside down cake.

Chocolate goes really well with pears! How about a chocolate-poached-pear-upside-down cake?

That title is getting long, ha ha.

What if the chocolate cake was a brownie instead?

Pear Upside Down Brownie


4 pears

8-10 allspice berries

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp honey

1 tsp lemon juice

2-3 Cups water (enough to cover the pears, it will depend on the pot you use)

1 1/3 Cups flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 Cup butter

1 Cup cocoa powder

2 Cups sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • Peel and core the pears, and then slice them lengthwise in 1/4 inch slices.
  • In a saucepan, combine the allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, honey, lemon juice and water. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the pears, making sure that the poaching liquid covers them. Bring to a simmer and let them get cooked through and redolent of the spices (~20-25 minutes).
  • While the pears poach, mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  • Melt the butter, and after it is melted, add to it the cocoa, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Mix thoroughly.
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, stirring to combine.
  • Butter a 13×9 inch cake pan.
  • When the pears are done poaching, remove them from the saucepan with a slotted spoon and arrange in a single layer.

  • Pour the brownie batter over top of the pears, gently so as to not upset their distribution, and even it out toward the edges with a spoon.
  • Bake in a 350° oven until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (~30-35 minutes).
  • Cool for 5 minutes and then turn the brownie out onto a plate or a cooling rack. If any of the pears stick to the pan, just place them back where they were supposed to be.
  • Allow to cool completely before slicing, and if you’re feeling extravagant, serve your pieces with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

I quite enjoyed this experimental brownie. Poaching the pears made the house smell divine. The pears were just the right texture, the spice from the poaching process worked it’s way into the brownie layer in a lovely way too. Oddly, the brownie didn’t get the top sheen on it that a brownie normally will, perhaps due to the extra moisture from the pears?

Either way, it’s a recipe that will be worth making again, I think. It just didn’t come out with the gooey caramel-y part I was wishing would come with it, like in a pineapple upside down cake. Maybe I could concoct something with the poaching liquid and place it in the bottom of the pan with the pears. It’s going to take a little more experimentation, but at least it is experimentation of a tasty kind. Any suggestions?

7 thoughts on “Pear Upside Down Brownie

  1. Hi Dana:
    The gooey part of the top (formerly bottom) of most upside down cakes usually comes from butter and sugar (brown sugar mostly I think.) There is a definite school of culinary thought that says you can’t go wrong adding butter to anything. Maybe you could add some brown sugar (or honey) to the already delicious poaching liquid and it could be be “finished” with butter, like many French sauces are, and then spooned over the pears before the batter goes on. What’s the worst that could happen? Pears and chocolate is such a classic combination and your take on it is absolutely inspired!

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