Style at Home - - Desert of the month -

Pre­heat the oven to 350°F. Set six 1-cup non-stick ramekins on a bak­ing sheet; place the bak­ing sheet close to the stove.

To make the caramel pears, peel and core the pears and cut each one into 8 wedges. Com­bine the su­gar and water in a heavy­bot­tomed saucepan over medium heat, stir­ring un­til the su­gar dis­solves. In­crease the heat to high and bring to a boil; cook, with­out stir­ring, un­til the mix­ture turns a rich caramel colour, 6 to 8 min­utes. Very care­fully di­vide the hot caramel equally among the ramekins. Quickly ar­range three or four pear slices over the caramel in each ramekin; set aside.

To make the spice cakes, stir to­gether the flour, bak­ing pow­der and spices in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and su­gar to­gether with an elec­tric hand mixer un­til well­com­bined. Stir in the vanilla and add the eggs one at a time, beat­ing for 1 minute after each ad­di­tion un­til light and fluffy. In two or three ad­di­tions, add the flour mix­ture to the butter mix­ture, al­ter­nat­ing with the milk, beat­ing well after each ad­di­tion. Care­fully spoon the bat­ter evenly over the caramel pears in each ramekin. Bake the cakes for about 35 min­utes, un­til the tops are light golden and set.

Re­move the bak­ing sheet from the oven and, work­ing quickly, run a sharp knife around the edges of each cake to loosen; gen­tly turn each cake out onto a small dessert plate. Serve im­me­di­ately with crème fraîche or whipped cream on the side.

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