One Quick Bread Recipe, Two Versions

As bosc pears ripen the texture is as soft as a ripe banana, so I got the idea of making my banana bread recipe with chunks of pear. 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, with a sweet spice flavor.

The trick to this recipe is using the pears when they are very ripe. 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.

Pear Bread (or Banana Bread)

Makes: 9x5-inch loaf

Prep time:  20 minutes

Bake time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Skill: Easy
2 cups (spoon and sweep) all-purpose flour
1 cup  granola (or 1 cup toasted coconut for banana bread)
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)
Icing:
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 9x5-inch loaf pan with butter.

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

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. Fold in the pears (or bananas).

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool to room temperature.

Make the icing:

In a small bowl combine all the ingredients until smooth.

Spread over the top of the cooled bread.

Enjoy. It makes a great breakfast.

This is a picture of the banana bread version. I didn't use the icing, but it would be tasty on both.

Zoë François, author of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day  and Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in 5 Minutes a Day , studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She now calls Minneapolis her home, where she has worked with some of the top talent in the culinary world — Steven Brown, Andrew Zimmern and many chefs at the D’Amico company. In addition to writing, Zoë teaches baking classes and consults at restaurants. You can find her writing and recipe creations on Devour, on her baking blog, zoebakes.com and on the site, www.breadin5.com.

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