Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pear Bread

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. I’ve been a bit busy. Today, my mother-in-law is flying in, and she’ll be our first houseguest. We’ll be having a real Thanksgiving dinner Thursday, so there will definitely be a post about that! In the meantime, here’s a pear bread recipe that’s become a household favourite. I got the recipe on Smitten Kitchen. It’s a quick bread, not unlike banana bread, but it should rightly be called a cake. The Engineer called it a “delightful, fluffy little bread with some notes of awesomeness” – high praise indeed! The pear gets you when you’re not expecting it, and it really comes through in its graininess and subtle taste. It’s great for fall, and though I first had it for dessert, it’s also wonderful for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup butter, softened, or margarine or vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
3 or 4 pears firm, ripe pears, depending on size (you’ll need 2 grated cups total, but I don’t recommend you grate them until you are about to use them, so they don’t brown)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat your oven to 350 °F and lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan or two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl, and stir with a fork to mix everything well.

Peel and core pears, then grate them. You’ll want two grated cups total; set them briefly aside. In a medium bowl, combine the butter , eggs, sugar, grated pear and vanilla, and stir to mix everything well. Scrape the pear mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until the flour disappears and the batter is evenly moistened.

Quickly scrape the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the bread is handsomely browned and firm on top and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then turn it out onto a plate or a wire rack to cool completely, top side up. Serve it as is, sprinkle it with confectioners’ sugar or drizzle it with a simple glaze (made from whisking 3 tablespoons buttermilk, a dash of vanilla and 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar together, for example).

I also served it with honey ice cream as well as with the glaze resulting from my failed attempt at a lactose-free frosting for hummingbird cake, but it was wonderful plain.

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