Pear Cardamom Bread
This experiment started, as perhaps all great experiments do, with something that needed to get used or it was going to waste. In this case, it was pears. You know how pears are perfectly perfect and delicious? For about 45 minutes? They are always too hard when they first come home, so you put them in a bowl on the counter. And you pay attention. (You must pay attention, otherwise you miss the delicious window.) And then one day, they are perfect. So juicy. So tasty. You have one for breakfast and again for lunch. Because by late afternoon, they’ve gone mushy and bruised.
One lesson here would be to only ever buy a couple of pears at a time. But, we’re still recovering from owning an Inn and the hubby over-shops at times. (Which is, of course, fine when it comes to dry goods. And in fact we’re both pretty spoiled by now, expecting a wide array of ingredients to be at hand when inspiration strikes. We’ve put in one, two and now three shelving units in the basement for supplies. You probably want to come to our house in the case of that nuclear attack I spent my childhood preparing for.) Back to the pears – that bag of pears arrived home from the store and I thought, ‘better start making a plan for the over-ripe pears we’re gonna have by next week.’
I think we both assumed he’d make a sauce out of the pears. Maybe for pork? Or some sort of salsa to go into a taco? But then I got to thinking, specifically about the fact that a pear gets very mushy when it’s time has passed. Started thinking about where I could use mushy pear in a baked item. And thought: mushy pear….mushy banana? Pretty similar consistency. Different flavor but still a very tasty flavor. Maybe a little milder than a banana. See where I’m going here?
I pulled out my favorite banana bread recipe. (From the Vanilla Bean Baking Blog cookbook – I have yet to find a recipe in this book that I don’t love.) I made a few adjustments. And Voi-frickin-la! I’m so pleased with the results! If this idea does not light you up (and I know at least one person who will run screaming at the mention of cardamom) head on over to the Vanilla Bean Baking Blog and grab Sarah’s fantastic Banana Bread recipe instead.
Pear Cardamom Bread
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts toasted and crushed
- 1 cup very ripe pears mashed
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350F. Toast the hazelnuts in the preheating oven for about 10 minutes.
Grease a loaf pan.
In a small bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, cardamom and salt. Once the hazelnuts are toasted, cooled and crushed, mix them into the flour mixture.
In another bowl mix the mashed pear, sour cream and vanilla.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium until creamy. Add both sugars and beat on medium until light and fluffy.
Scrape down the bowl and add the two eggs. Mix on medium until combined.
Add the flour mixture and mix on low until incorporated. Add the pear mixture and mix on low until combined.
Scrape down bowl and mix with a spatula to make sure everything is evenly distributed.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 45 - 55 minutes. (I definitely needed a longer cook time, but ovens are different so start checking at 45 minutes.)
Let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.