a twist on the standard banana bread recipe, this one incorporates grated pears and walnuts in a cinnamon-kissed dough – a one-bowl recipe that emerges from the oven with a lovely crack and the homey smell of cinnamon.
and isn’t it a beautiful brown loaf? it’s often difficult to photograph a rustic sort of cake, without the help of gorgeous frosting to mask that monotony – but when it comes out all glossy and shiny this way – it’s incomparable in appeal.
there is a deeply comforting – and rather mysterious – flavour to quickbreads made with vegetables or fruit, one that is inexplicable and yet immediately recognizable; and this bread has it. it tastes better with keeping, but benefits even more with a sit under the grill, and a pat of butter melting into its crevices.
I wish it tasted a little more distinctly of pear, but as it is the fruit brings a deeper, honeyed fragrance to this quickbread that sets it apart from your typical slice of pound cake – which makes it worth trying. next time, I might try to get at this with chinese or korean pears (drained slightly after grating as those hold a lot more water) since they have a slightly more discernible flavour.
pear loaf (adapted from smitten kitchen)
170g plain flour
0.5 tsp baking soda
0/125 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
handful of walnuts, coarsely broken
90ml vegetable oil (I have a feeling butter might be better used here instead)
2 medium eggs
1 cup grated pear (I used about 2.5 pears – and ate the remaining)
1 tsp vanilla extract
- preheat your oven to 175C, and grease and flour a loaf pan.
- mix the flour, baking soda and powder, salt and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. remove a tablespoon to toss in a small bowl with the walnuts – this will prevent them from sinking overtly in the cake.
- grate your pears – I removed the seeds but grated everything else in – core, skin and all. add the oil, sugar, eggs, pears and nuts together in a separate bowl, before folding thoroughly into the dry mix. don’t overdo your stirring or the bread will turn out tough!
- pour into your pan, and bake until brown and a cake tester comes out clean. if you think it’s darkening too fast (happens with large loaf cake recipes such as this one), remember to tent it with a piece of aluminium foil, dull-side-up. a dark crust is a beautiful thing though!