Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pear Walnut Bread.

I'm probably jinxing things by saying this, but today was the first day it felt like spring was finally on its way - lovely sunny skies, above 32 degrees F, people were out and about. I love it when everyone starts emerging from their hibernation after winter. Due to this good mood swing, I had the urge to bake something. 4 d'Anjou pears getting soft on the counter... pear bread! Easy and it can be frozen for future use and I don't have to eat it all now.

Last week I found 5 mini loaf pans in the back of my baking pan cupboard and since then I've been baking all loaf bread recipes in mini. So much cuter than a large loaf, don't you think? These also look adorable wrapped in a cellophane bag and tied with shiny ribbon for giving to friends and family.

This recipe comes from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott - a highly recommended book for anyone who loves to bake cakes! The recipes have always been delicious, easy to follow and don't call for anything exotic. You can bake this in any size pan(s) you'd like - tube pan, Bundt pan, or mini loaf pans. I'd bet it would even make muffins rather well.

Cornelia Walker Bailey's Pear Bread
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup butter, softened or 3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
2 cups peeled and grated ripe but firm pears
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease the pan(s) you're using lightly.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside. In a smaller bowl, take about 1/4 cup of the flour mixture and stir with the chopped walnuts until coated.

In a medium bowl (I used a handheld mixer), combine the butter, eggs, sugar, pears and vanilla until everything is well blended. Scrape this mixture into the dry mixture along with the walnuts and stir just until everything is evenly moistened.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 60 to 70 minutes (my mini loaves took about 20, so make sure you check depending on what size pan you're using), until golden brown and risen on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I sprinkled mine with more chopped walnuts and turbinado sugar before baking - you can sprinkle with powdered sugar after baking or make a simple icing sugar glaze as well. Enjoy :)

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