Gingerbread-Pear Loaf

Gingerbread-Pear Loaf

Gingerbread-Pear Loaf holds a surprise: tart Bosc pears that reveal their shapely forms when the bread is sliced.

Gingerbread-Pear Loaf
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
  1. 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.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, salt, cloves, and nutmeg.
  3. 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.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to medium-low. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk to brown-sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Divide pear halves between pans (4 halves per loaf), inserting into batter, standing horizontally.
  6. 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.

Poached Pears
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
  1. 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.
  2. Add pears, and poach until tender, 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove from poaching liquid, and let drain.
  3. Halve pears and remove core. Serve with poaching liquid. Garnish with a drizzle of honey, if desired.


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