Gingerbread-Pear Loaf holds a surprise: tart Bosc pears that reveal their shapely forms when the bread is sliced.
Makes 2 (9x5-inch) loaves
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup unsulfured molasses
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole buttermilk
- 8 Poached Pears halves, recipe follows
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 2 (9x5-inch) loaf pans with baking spray. Line with parchment paper, allowing excess to hang over sides of pan, and spray again.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, salt, cloves, and nutmeg.
- In a separate large bowl, beat brown sugar, butter, and molasses with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract.
- Reduce mixer speed to medium-low. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk to brown-sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
- Spoon batter into prepared pans. Divide pear halves between pans (4 halves per loaf), inserting into batter, standing horizontally.
- Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on a wire rack. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Makes 6 servings
- 1 (750-ml) bottle white wine, such as Chardonnay
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 pink peppercorns
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 whole star anise
- 2 whole allspice
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
- Peel from 1 orange
- Peel from 1 lemon
- 6 firm Bosc pears, peeled, stems intact
- Garnish: honey
- In a large pot, combine wine, water, light brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, pink peppercorns, cloves, star anise, allspice, honey, vanilla bean seeds, orange peel, and lemon peel. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and maintain a constant simmer.
- Add pears, and poach until tender, 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove from poaching liquid, and let drain.
- Halve pears and remove core. Serve with poaching liquid. Garnish with a drizzle of honey, if desired.