1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup sour cream
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
6 cups milk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh ginger
8 extra-large eggs
12 extra-large egg yolks
1 cup unsulphured molasses
2 ripe large pears, such as Anjou or Comice—peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup brandy
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter an 8-inch square cake pan. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk and cornmeal; let stand for 5 minutes. In another bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk the butter with the sour cream and egg and stir into the cornmeal mixture. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly, then unmold to cool completely. Cut 3/4 of the corn bread into 1-inch dice; let dry. (You can snack on the rest.) Put the corn bread in a food processor; pulse until fine.
Preheat the oven to 325°. Generously butter twelve 1-cup ramekins and set them in a large roasting pan.
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and ginger and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let steep, covered, for 10 minutes.
Put the corn bread crumbs in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the whole eggs with the egg yolks and molasses. Bring the milk back to a boil and slowly whisk it into the eggs. Strain the custard over the corn bread and stir well. Add the diced pears to the ramekins and spoon the custard on top. Pour enough hot water into the pan to reach one-third of the way up the sides of the ramekins.
Cover the roasting pan tightly with foil and bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour, or until the puddings are set.
In a heavy medium saucepan, bring the brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter to a boil over high heat. Add the cream and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until the temperature reaches 240° and the sauce is thick when a spoonful is cooled on a plate. Stir in the brandy. Serve warm.
Run a thin knife around the puddings and invert them onto plates. Spoon the Butterscotch Sauce on top and serve.
The corn bread crumbs can be made up to 3 days ahead. The puddings can be refrigerated for 1 day. Bring to room temperature and rewarm in a water bath in a 300° oven, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. The butterscotch sauce can be refrigerated for 1 week.
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