Pear and Walnut Bread

I have to start this off by saying that it feels a little odd to be thinking about pear bread as the hurricane rolls into the East Coast, and, in truth, I can’t stop thinking about all my friends and loved ones there and obsessively checking for updates. I was encouraged and heartened, though, to read about what everyone was cooking and baking in preparation for the storm. Obviously, the conditions were far from ideal, but it made me smile to think of all that good food being shared, even if only lit by candles and against the backdrop of wind and rain. I sincerely hope that the news today will be good news. In the meantime, I am breaking bread, though only in spirit, with my East Coast friends and family.

This pear bread is ushering in the fall baking season for me, even if it is really still just a tiny bit too warm to leave the oven on long enough to bake it. It’s a simple recipe, and it was born out of my desire not to let any produce go to waste. Before we left for Istanbul, I threw everything in the freezer that I thought had even a remote chance of keeping, and three pretty pears made the cut. I used to freeze them sometimes in grad school when I couldn’t eat them fast enough, and they are great for baking once they’ve thawed. If you are using fresh pears, though, a quick puree will get them to the same consistency. This recipe makes two loaves, so one of them went right in the freezer (whence it came!), but you could easily cut the recipe in half if you just want one.

I absolutely love the pear-packed flavor of this bread. It is so unique (and I am a quick bread veteran if I ever met one). I so highly recommend it if you’ve got pears looking forlorn on your countertop. Happy fall!

Pear and Walnut Bread
Adapted from Bake or Break (one of my favorite baking blogs ever)

3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 c chopped walnuts
3/4 c butter, softened
3 large eggs
2 c granulated sugar
1 3/4 c pear puree (about 3 medium pears)
2 tsp vanilla extract

-Preheat oven to 350° and lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan or two 9″x 5″loaf pans.
-In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
-In a separate bowl, combine butter, eggs, sugar, pear puree, and vanilla. Add the pear mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until the batter is evenly moistened throughout.
-Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 55-70 minutes, or until bread is browned and firm on top. (I used one glass and one metal pan. The metal pan took 55 minutes, while the glass pan took 65).
-Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then, remove loaves from pan and place top side up on a plate or wire rack to cool completely.

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