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

Banana Pear Bread Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

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 | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

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 banana pear bread.

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.

Banana Pear 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. ;(


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

Granola and flour mixture | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

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

Incorporating pears into banana bread batter | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

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.

Banana Pear Bread Batter | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Banana Pear Bread Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

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

Banana Pear Bread Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Remove from pan and cool to room temperature.

Banana Pear Bread Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Make the icing:

In a small bowl combine all the ingredients until smooth.

Banana Pear Bread Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Spread over the top of the cooled bread.

Banana Pear Bread Slice | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Enjoy. Makes a great breakfast.

Banana Pear Bread Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

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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22 thoughts to “Banana Bread (and Pear Bread) – One Recipe, Two Flavors.”

  1. I’d love to try the pear version – I’m not a pear fan but husband and son are. I love the addition of granola and toasted nuts, too. The flavors are really perfect as a backdrop for pears. Beautiful!

  2. This is so unique. I love pears but never thought to make pear bread. I make banana bread often but pear bread – brilliant. I can’t wait to try this and use granola in the mix. Very unusual. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh, I’ve never thought of making a ‘pear’ bread. And I’m now wondering why not. Can this work with maybe some toasted oats in lieu of granola? I’m all out of granola and instead of making a large batch again, I could simply toast a cup of oats in the oven.

    1. Hi Needful things,

      If you are going to toast the oats, maybe toss them with some maple syrup and a touch of oil, that should get you the same effect as granola.

      Cheers, Zoë

  4. Hi Zoe, I made a large batch of Heidi Swanson’s Granola about two weeks ago and unfortunately it’s all gone (half consumed, half given away)! I would have happily thrown some into this bread but, just as you suggested, I’m going to toast the oats with some oil and maple syrup and some orange zest and use that instead. I have some anjou pears on hand so maybe this bread will be made tonight 🙂

  5. This is just wonderful…I’m unable to eat bananas and have desperately been missing a simple yet yummy cake recipe…Thank you I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  6. SCORE! I love that this is a two-for-one recipe! I’ve never baked bread using pear and I’m anxious to try it. A thick slice of pear (or banana) bread with a hot mug of coffee sounds like the perfect afternoon snack! Gorgeous! Thanks and have a great weekend!

  7. Zoe, I have made this bread (pear) three times since this post and just confessed to my husband that if I were left alone with a loaf I would eat the whole thing in one sitting without any shame! It is AMAZING. Thank you for this amazing recipe!!

      1. Do you ever make your way to the east coast (Boston/Providence area) for us geeky followers to meet you and learn a thing or two? My daughters love watching your videos and it would be awesome to get an opportunity to attend a class. Thanks!

  8. Zoë, amazing pictures! Love the step by steps. My wife and I literally have 20 bananas in the freezer waiting for banana bread. Going to make it this week and I’ll let you know how it goes. Also been making my own granola, so think it will be the perfect combo. Thanks!!

      1. Zoë, funny enough I made it last night! Turned out amazing, except I got antsy and took it out of the oven probably 3 minutes early so the very center was still too moist. Still was delicious, and I might even like it more this way. Thanks again for posting! – todd

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