This last stretch of cooking breakfast at the Inn contains the tricky part. Since the guests staying there now had booked the house for nearly a week, I wanted to make sure that they didn't get bored with having the same breakfast morning after morning. In fact, in laying out the menus for the week, I tried to plan a different "entree" for each day.
After all, the surroundings might be the same each morning (beautifully decorated by the Innkeeper, of course, but the same every day), but the contents of the plates need not be.
This morning, then, I had a menu planned that repeated one regular item (bacon), one item made earlier in the week (scrambled eggs), and a couple of new dishes.
And since we're still in the midst of the holidays, I opted for a festive sort of breakfast cake, making a pan of gingerbread decked with slices of pear.
I decided to bake this yesterday afternoon at home so that I could use plenty of good local ingredients from my own pantry: flour, egg, sorghum, maple sugar, and the last of my home-canned pears. It smelled awfully tempting, but I didn't touch the cake until I got to the Inn this morning. Once I had cut it into wedges, I dusted it with powdered sugar and served it to a crowd of very delighted guests.
That made an excellent first course, combining the usual fruit and bread served first, and I followed it with scrambled eggs laced with cheddar cheese, bacon, and home fries.
All in all, they made a good crowd-pleasing breakfast, as the plates were pretty well cleaned by the time I brought them back into the kitchen.
Happily, they did save me a bit of gingerbread, and it turned out even better than I had hoped. That's a combination worth repeating!
I have two more breakfasts left to cook and serve: French toast with the Bistro Chef, and one final meal to celebrate the first of the New Year.
And then I'll celebrate going back to cooking for myself!
Based on the recipe for Upside Down Gingerbread from Vegetarian Times, March 2007, with very minor changes.
1 T unsalted butter, melted
3/4 c whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 c unbleached flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c sorghum molasses
1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c canola oil
1/3 c plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 c maple sugar
1 pear, peeled, cored, and cut in eighths (mine was home-canned)
Preheat oven to 350F. Brush round cake pan with butter.
Whisk flours, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Beat together egg, sugar, molasses, applesauce, oil, and yogurt. Mix in flour (in two additions).
Scatter maple sugar over bottom of prepared pan. Arrange pear slices in a wheel over the sugar. Pour batter over pears.
Bake 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Loosen edges with knife. Invert cake onto platter.