Old Fashioned Gingerbread with Eggnog Custard and Pomegranate Glass Pears
Enjoy the flavors of the holidays individually or as a whole with this delicious gingerbread cake
Yield: 12 servings
For the Pears
- 2 pears (red pears are gorgeous, but any color will do) very thinly sliced
- 4 cups pomegranate juice
- ½ cup white sugar
For the Custard
- 4½ cups eggnog (not the light version)
- ⅔ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ tsp kosher or sea salt
- 7 egg yolks
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp spiced rum
For the Gingerbread
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground clove
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp finely ground black pepper
- 1½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups unsulphured molasses
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 cups boiling water
For the Pears (Prepare in Advance)
- Preheat oven to 200°F.
- In a medium saucepan, combine juice and sugar. Bring to a simmer and add pear slices. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let pears soak in the pomegranate solution for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours.
- Remove pear slices from juice* and lay in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place in the oven for 2 hours, and flip them over halfway through. They may be slightly malleable at the end of this time, but they will begin to harden up quickly as they cool. Allow to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container, not overlapping, with parchment between each layer.*If you want a little extra treat (and who doesn’t?), bring the juice back to a simmer and allow to reduce to 1 Cup. Allow syrup to cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
For the Custard
- In a large saucepan, heat eggnog to a simmer. Do not allow to boil.
- While eggnog is heating, sift sugar, cornstarch, and salt. In a heatproof bowl, whisk dry mixture with egg yolks until fully combined. Remove eggnog from the heat and slowly temper it into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the yolks.
- Return mixture to the saucepan and heat over medium, stirring constantly to prevent liquid from sticking to the bottom. Heat until mixture thickens, about 5-8 minutes. It should be able to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat.
- Strain mixture into a large bowl and discard any lumps caught by the strainer. Add butter and mix in until smooth. Stir in rum. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
For the Gingerbread
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9”x13” baking dish with nonstick spray.
- In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until fully combined. Add eggs one at a time and mix until smooth. Add applesauce and molasses and mix until combined.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Add hot water and mix until just incorporated. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out just barely clean. Allow to cool completely. If you are not serving until a later day, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Slice your gingerbread into squares. Place one square on a plate. Top with a generous spoon of custard. If you made pomegranate syrup, drizzle it over your custard. Top with a glass pear slice or two, and sprinkle pomegranate arils over the top.
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!