Every year has its seasons: Spring, Summer, Pumpkin Spice, Candy Cane…you get the idea. But somewhere around the hot cocoa and the squash lattes falls my favorite of all: gingerbread season. It’s cozy, it’s satisfying, and it harkens back to that comforting holiday kitchen. I’m not talking about the sweet little gingerbread kids that we all love to decorate, or even the houses decked out in gumdrops and royal icing. I’m talking dark, spicy cake that warms you from the inside out with every bite.
Molasses lays the foundation for this flavorful slice, complemented by brown sugar, plenty of ginger, black pepper, and your standard baking spices – cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Though I’ve eaten many a dense gingerbread, applesauce keeps this version plenty moist. While you can certainly bake it in a beautiful bundt pan, I find its best life takes place in your everyday 9”x13” baking dish.
Because it’s the holiday season, let’s dress things up a bit. A traditional custard can be easily upgraded with festive eggnog, and for a truly show-stopping dessert (or breakfast, no one is judging) top it with gorgeous and slightly addictive pear slices poached in pomegranate juice and candied to a glass-like state.
Be warned: this is not a 30-minute meal. In fact, you’ll need to start this process at least a day ahead of serving time. Despite the lengthy processes, and honestly because of them, this is one plate you and your holiday guests won’t soon forget!
by Brittany Kulland