Appreciating Our Apples and Pears



If you’re a fruit lover that likes to shop for fresh locally-grown produce, the pickings can be a little slim in February. While hungrily anticipating the first stalks of early spring’s pink rhubarb, sweet cherries and apricots, I try to get creative with the gorgeous bounty of apples and pears available to us here in the Sacramento region.


The most obvious way to savor these delicious fruits is by eating them out of hand or tucking them into a crusty pie. But have you ever whipped up a potful of fragrant homemade pear sauce, made your family a batch of German apple pancakes, or baked a moist, walnut-studded apple/pear cake? Perhaps my favorite way to celebrate these fruits is by making an upside-down cake – a beautiful dessert that is surprisingly easy to make and always garners lots of praise (and appreciation) from family and friends.


There are many recipes out there for good upside-down cakes, but one of my favorites is from pastry chef David Lebovitz, who has a very entertaining (and educational) blog filled with fantastic recipes. His upside-down cake recipe can be used for practically any fresh fruit (during the late fall and winter I like to use Gravenstein and Granny Smith apples and Bosc pears), and he includes great instructional photos that help guide first-timers in producing a successful product. So give David’s upside-down cake a spin – it should keep you occupied (and your tummy happy) until spring gifts us with those glorious, juicy stone fruits we all crave.