November 13, 2009

Pear & Cranberry Bread

2 cups flour
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup pureed Bosc pears
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg, at room temperature
5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 thin (vertically) sliced pears, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour or spray (with baking spray with flour) 1 loaf pan. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the buttermilk, egg and pear, mix until thoroughly incorporated. Add flour, baking powder, and spices. Mix thoroughly. Fold in cranberries. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Top with 2 thin slices of pear if desired.

Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan about 5 minutes then invert to a wire rack.

Note: Peel and core pears before pureeing. It takes roughly 2 pears to make 3/4 cup puree. Don't worry about it being perfectly smooth, some small lumps are just fine.

My thoughts:
After making the truly divine blueberry goat cheese muffins this summer, I kept thinking about other baked goods that would be improved by using homemade fruit purees. I just love how using puree spreads the flavor throughout the baked good rather than just having suspended bites of fruit which, while tasty, leaves some bites fruit-free. I had a ton of pears leftover from a recipe development gig so I wanted to use them up in a new way. I love both cranberries and pears so I thought a quick bread marrying the two would be a great idea. While I have made muffins using chunks of pears that were quite good, I thought an even better way to get a true pear flavor would be to puree the fruit and fold it into the batter. I was right. Rather than fading into the background, the pear is every bit as present as the tart cranberries. The pureed pears also make the bread incredibly moist.