Banana Bread (and Pear Bread) – One Recipe, Two Flavors.

by zoe on January 23, 2013 · 22 comments  |  Print Email this to a friend

Pear Bread

The fact that Bosc pears taste like spicy, buttery perfume (I mean sweet, pure essence of pear, not old lady soap), may be second to their beauty. I admit I bought this bag of pears to decorate my kitchen. They’re so sleek and statuesque that most every still life painter from Van Gogh to Picasso has captured their elegance.

Pears

The carefully arranged bowl was quickly decimated by my family, who didn’t recognize the art in my attempt, but smelled the juicy pears and ate them. The boscs are in their prime. Some years the pear crops are mealy and tasteless, but this year they’re sweet, juicy and the flesh is perfectly smooth. As they ripened the texture is as soft as an overly ripe banana, so I got the idea of making my banana bread recipe with chunks of the ripe pears.  I added a bit of homemade granola, instead of the toasted coconut I usually put in the banana bread. It is essentially the same recipe, but the result is completely and wonderfully different.

The trick to this recipe is using the pears when they are almost too ripe to eat. This means they are at their sweetest and will breakdown when baking. Unlike other banana recipes, this one calls for chunks of fruit, instead of a puree. Try both the banana and the pear versions and let me know which is your favorite. See the banana bread at the bottom of the post.

Pear Bread (or Banana Bread)

2 cups (spoon and sweep) all-purpose flour

1 cup granola (or 1 cup toasted coconut)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

2 eggs, room temperature

2/3 cup milk

2 ripe pears (or 2 ripe bananas), cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1 cup toasted nuts (optional) – I still can’t get my eldest son to eat them in baked goods. ;(

Icing:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon pear brandy (or rum)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Pinch salt

Making the bread:

Preheat oven to 350°F

Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter

Pear Bread zb 02

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granola, baking powder, sugar, salt, and spices.

Pear Bread zb 03

Cream together the butter and brown sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. Alternate adding the flour and milk, in 3 additions, mixing just to incorporate after each addition.

Pear Bread zb 04

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Pear Bread zb 05

Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Pear Bread zb 06

Remove from pan and cool to room temperature.

Pear Bread zb 07

Make the icing:

In a small bowl combine all the ingredients until smooth.

Pear Bread zb 08

Spread over the top of the cooled bread.

Pear Bread zb 09

Enjoy. Makes a great breakfast.

banana bread

This is a picture of the banana bread version. I didn’t use the icing, but it would be tasty on both.

Happy New Year to you all. I have been busy finishing up our new kitchen, which is a treat, but feels like we’re moving in all over again. My co-author, Jeff, and I are finishing up another book project and sailing into yet another. It is freezing cold, which is no surprise for January in MN, but I long for summer already. Lots of baking will get me through. Busy times. I hope you are all looking forward to your new year and hope we’ll do lots of baking together. I have a plan to do more videos this year, in my new kitchen, so please let me know if there are any baking techniques you are eager to learn.

Cheers, Zoë

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