Make Ahead

Warm Gingerbread With Pear Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce

November  7, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This recipe was inspired by the gingerbread at Cafe Divine in San Francisco. After lots of trial and error, I finally got the warm brownie consistency I was looking for, and served it triumphantly to my cooking club at our annual Thanksgiving feast. One of the guests literally licked her plate, which was exactly the response I was going for. For a less time-consuming version, skip the homemade ice cream and serve with store bought vanilla ice cream. —Ms. T

What You'll Need
  • Pear Ice Cream
  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe bosc pears, peeled, cored and halved
  • 1/4 cup bottled pear juice
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 6 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 splash brandy, amaretto or other liqueur
  • Gingerbread & Caramel Sauce
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Pear Ice Cream
  2. Preheat oven to 375. Place pears in baking dish and sprinkle with 1-2 tbs sugar and splash of brandy or other liqueur. Roast in oven until pears are fork-tender, about 30 min. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Puree pears in food processor with ¼ cup pear juice and any liquid from roasting pan. Set aside.
  4. Heat half-and-half in heavy saucepan over low heat, until hot but not boiling. Whisk the sugar into the egg yolks. Whisk in some of the hot half-and-half, and then add all of the egg mixture into the saucepan, whisking to combine. Add 1 tbs vanilla and small splash of brandy or other liquer. Cook at a low simmer, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the spoon.
  5. Place the saucepan in a pan of ice water and stir to cool to room temp. Stir in heavy cream and pear puree. Strain mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, or overnight. Freeze in an ice cream maker. Can make a day ahead and store in freezer.
  1. Gingerbread & Caramel Sauce
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, blend the flour, baking powder, ginger, salt, pepper, cloves, allspice and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter, eggs, brown sugar, molasses with an electric mixer. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and combine with mixer.
  4. Pour batter into a greased baking pan (like a brownie pan), and bake for about 25 min, or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. While cake is baking, make caramel sauce. Scald the cream in a saucepan, reduce heat to very low, and keep warm. Heat the sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon. (Do not use metal spoon). The sugar will slowly melt into a clear liquid and gradually darken. Don’t worry if the sugar lumps–keep stirring and the lumps will melt into the caramel as it darkens. When the caramel has turned a rich mahogany color, pour it slowly into the hot cream, whisking constantly. The caramel will spatter so be careful not to burn yourself. Stir until combined and remove from heat. The sauce thickens as it cools and will solidify in the refrigerator, where it will keep for up to 2 days.
  6. While cake cools slightly, pour warm caramel sauce onto individual serving plates. Place a slice of warm cake on top of caramel sauce, and top with a scoop of pear ice cream. Drizzle with more caramel and serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Art Fink
    Art Fink
  • lime lassi
    lime lassi
  • AntoniaJames
  • SallyCan
  • Ms. T
    Ms. T
A museum marketing professional 8 hours a day, and a gal who's dreaming, drooling, obsessing about food for the other 18 hours. Wait, that doesn't add up to 24? Oh, that's because I'm counting the hours I'm supposed to be working that I dream about food (don't tell my boss). Several years ago, I started a cooking club with six girlfriends...ten years later...many of our addresses and last names have changed, our palettes have gotten more sophisticated and the wine has gotten less cheap. We now usually sit at dining room tables like grownups instead of on cushions on the floor of studio apartments, and the conversations have shifted with the life stages...but we're still going strong, the food gets better every month, and nothing is more pleasurable than sharing an afternoon laughing, eating, and trading tips on recipes and life.

11 Reviews

Art F. June 14, 2015
It says to "whisk the sugar into the egg yolks" but there is no mentioning of sugar quantity in the ice cream ingredients. How much sugar should be added here?
Kathy September 3, 2017
How much sugar is added to the eggs?
Babs I. November 15, 2011
I bake. A lot. When you say "brownie pan", do you mean 13x9, 9x9 or something else? I look forward to making this recipe, as well as the one for pine nut brittle.
Ms. T. November 16, 2011
I usually use a 9x9. I'm guessing you could use any similar size, but may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. It's supposed to be moist and chewy (not crumbly and cake-like), so I would err on the side of under-cooking a tad. Glad you like the recipe(s)!
lime L. September 18, 2011
This sounds like the perfect thing to have after a crisp afternoon raking leaves and putting the garden to rest for winter.
AntoniaJames November 12, 2010
How many egg yolks do you use for the ice cream? I see yolks mentioned in the instructions, but not in the ingredients list. Thanks! ;o)
Ms. T. November 14, 2010
Oops! Thanks for pointing this out. It's six egg yolks, and I've edited the recipe above.
SallyCan November 12, 2010
Nice. Love the pear ice cream.
AntoniaJames November 12, 2010
Mmmm. Me, too! Actually, the combination sounds heavenly. And gingerbread with the consistency of a brownie? Wow. I'm definitely going to try this. ;o)
Threemealsaday November 10, 2010
I like the seasonal flavors and ingredients.
Dana S. January 29, 2014
This is great concept, but the recipe like most gingerbread recipes does not call for hot water. I baked the cake twice and both times it came out very dense and rock hard on the outside. I think adding some hot water to this one could help it a bit.