During the Middle Ages, ginger and pepper were the only spices available to bakers, which explains the historical popularity of gingerbread. Gingerbread and gingerbread men are a holiday tradition for many nationalities. In the winter, sometimes I bake this with thawed frozen peach slices and frozen blueberries.
Heat oven to 350°F (180°C) with oven rack in middle. Lightly grease 11 x 7-inch (28 x 18-cm) baking dish.
Combine brown sugar and flour in large bowl. Stir in fruit, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Toss gently to coat fruit. Spoon fruit into prepared baking dish.
Bake 20 minutes or until fruit juices are starting to bubble.
To Make the Gingerbread:
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and salt together into medium bowl.
Beat brown sugar and shortening in bowl of a heavy-duty mixer on Medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. Scrape down sides of bowl.
Reduce mixer speed to Low. Add half of the flour mixture and mix. Beat in all of the buttermilk and scrape down sides of bowl. Add remaining flour mixture and bean until smooth. Drop mounds of batter onto the hot fruit.
Bake 40 to 50 minutes longer or until gingerbread springs back when touched lightly. You can test with a toothpick, but only insert it into the gingerbread. Cool slightly and serve warm with whipped cream.
Baker’s Notes: Unsulphured molasses has a milder flavor and lighter color than sulphured molasses. Look on the bottle to see how the molasses has been processed.
Because the skin on nectarines is tender, they don’t have to be peeled.
Secret to Success: Sifting assures that the spices are evenly distributed. If you don’t have a sifter, use a wire mesh strainer.