* 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
* 3 cups packed light brown sugar
* 1 Tbsp. vanilla
* 5 eggs
* 3/4 cup milk
* 1/4 cup brandy, pear brandy, pear liqueur, or orange juice
* 2-1/4 cups firm, ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
* 2 to 3 tsp. finely shredded orange peel
* 1/3 cup granulated sugar
* 1/3 cup brandy, pear brandy, pear liqueur, or orange juice
* For Pear Sauce:
* 4 large Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
* 1-1/2 tsp. lemon juice
* 1/3 cup pear nectar or pear juice
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 500 mg vitamin C tablet (to prevent browning)
* 1/4 tsp. vanilla
1. Butter a 10-inch fluted tube pan. Coat lightly with flour, shaking out excess. Set pan aside.
2. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a very large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and vanilla; beat on high speed until mixture is smooth and light, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until combined.
3. Alternately add milk and the 1/4 cup brandy to flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition and stopping occasionally to scrape the bowl. Fold in pears and orange peel. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.
4. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 1 hour 10 minutes or until golden brown and a long wooden skewer inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
5. For glaze, combine granulated sugar and the 1/3 cup brandy in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture just boils and sugar is dissolved.
6. Remove cake from pan and place on wire rack. Place a piece of waxed paper under the wire rack. With a pastry brush, brush the warm glaze over the entire surface of the cake. Cool cake completely. Serve with Pear Sauce. Makes 16 servings.
7. Pear Sauce: In a medium saucepan combine pears, lemon juice, pear nectar, sugar, and vitamin C tablet. Bring to boiling over medium heat; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until pears are soft. If mixture seems dry and in danger of scorching, add a bit more nectar to pan.
8. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Puree mixture in a food processor or blender; strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Stir in vanilla. Taste sauce and adjust sugar if necessary. Cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 72 hours.
Makes about 2 cups.
Make-Ahead Tip: Store cooled cake tightly wrapped at room temperature up to 2 days.