Move over banana bread, there’s a new favorite in town (at least in our little abode).
For years, we’ve made banana bread…or more specifically, been moved to make banana bread due to the slow demise of bananas in our fruit bowl. I’ve even tossed over-ripe bananas in the freezer in an effort to extend the brief window they offer before they’re even too ripe for baking. Don’t get me wrong, banana bread is delish…it’s just interesting that it’s most often baked in our home due to need, not necessarily due to want.
Using fruit to sweeten bread batter, however, is genius. The same goes with cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. Not only can you lessen the addition of refined sugars when using fruit, it also results in a beautiful, moist crumb. While bananas and apples are often good choices, select Stemilt pear varieties are exceptional for sweetening up a batter as they have a lovely, deep, natural sweetness that transfers beautifully to baking. Stemilt’s Bosc pears, in particular, are excellent in baking as they not only have a pleasant, sweet flavor, they have great textural quality…firm enough to hold up nicely if diced to dot a batter, yet tender enough to shred well for folding through a batter. And because Bosc is naturally flavored with hints of fall spices and a light honey-sweetness, it balances well with some of the stronger baking spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
In thinking of making a bread using Stemilt’s Bosc pears I immediately thought of some of these warmer notes…cinnamon, vanilla…and maple! And moving a bit beyond the standard banana bread fare, I figured why not make a bread that has a little more versatility…one that would be a great addition to a morning spread, could also satisfy an afternoon snacker, and even dress up a bit more for discerning dessert partakers.
This Pear Bread uses Stemilt’s beautiful Bosc pears in a couple of ways…shredded to thread subtle sweet flavor throughout the batter, and diced to dot a lightly spiced crumb. Infused with hints of vanilla and cinnamon, it’s great straight out of the oven just as it is (maybe even with a little buttery spread that has a bit of maple syrup stirred into it). Or…if you are looking for a little more pizazz like I was, add a generous drizzle of maple glaze over top and cap it with a mound of crunchy cinnamon-sugared almonds. Those last touches take this bread from great to wow.
These Stemilt Bosc pears are not only delicious straight off the tree, direct from nature, they are a perfect addition to a delectable bread…undoubtedly a fruit that won’t last long in any fruit bowl.