Sort of a “quick pie without the crust,” this cake has become one of my all-time favorite, most-often-made recipes. It originally came from Karolyn Nelke in New York.
12tablespoons (1½sticks) unsalted butter
3 firm-ripe pears, such as Bosc, peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced
1teaspoonfresh lemon juice
2tablespoonsplus ¾cupsugar, plus more as needed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½teaspoonpure vanilla extract
1cup sifted all-purpose flour
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 9½- or 10-inch pie plate.
To make browned butter: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; continue cooking until lightly golden, about 7 minutes. Watch carefully to avoid burning. Pour the butter into a medium bowl, leaving behind any sediment in the pan.
While the butter is browning, mound the pear slices in the pie plate and sprinkle with the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the cinnamon. Toss gently with your fingers to coat the pear slices, then spread the fruit in an even layer in the pie plate.
Stir ¾ cup of the sugar into the butter. Gently stir in the eggs and vanilla; stir in the flour just until blended; don’t overmix. Spread this batter evenly over the pears. Sprinkle with 1 or 2 tablespoons more sugar.
Bake until lightly golden and crusty, about 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream.