In honor of the crisp autumn weather that’s officially arrived (and me finally getting to wear my peacoat and massive scarf!) I wanted to make something particularly suited for this week’s post. A moist pumpkin loaf made with brown sugar and spices, with whole bosc pears baked straight into the center. Very autumn. Autumny? Looks polished, takes no time at all. Simply mix up the dry ingredients, mix up the wet ingredients, combine the two, plop in some pears and bake. The batter of this loaf is thick enough to hold up the pears, and when it rises during baking it comes up to cover their tops, leaving only the elegant stems showing.
The Beurré Bosc or Bosc is a cultivar of the European Pear (Pyrus communis) grown in the northwestern U.S. states of California, Washington, and Oregon; Australia; as well as in British Columbia, Ontario and Europe, where it is sometimes called Kaiser.
Ha! Okay. Well the “aristocrat of pears” holds up well to the baking and it’s flesh remains soft enough to slice through the loaf easily. I stick with good old fashioned butter only when it comes to items such as flaky pie crusts for pies and galettes, but for my quick breads I substitute melted coconut oil. You can substitute 1:1 melted coconut oil for melted butter in pretty much all quick bread recipes you come across, without much noticeable difference. It keeps pretty much forever in the cupboard, is a little less artery clogging, and doesn’t lend any coconut flavor to your baked goods.
I can’t lie, I have a shit eating grin on my face from having just sliced into this beast of a loaf – I just can’t believe how beautiful it turned out! Look at this thing! *sigh*.
Pumpkin Bread w/ Whole Bosc Pears: yields 1 large loaf.
1+1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
pinch ground cardamom
12 twists of black pepper from your pepper mill
pinch all spice
2 TB molasses
1/4 cup melted coconut oil (or butter)
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned)
1/3 cup milk
-Preheat your oven to 350 F and line a loaf pan with parchment paper (you will need a parchment sling to lift the loaf out after it’s baked without ruining the pear stems!).
-Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
-Whisk together all of the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
-Peel the skin from two firm flesh bosc pears. Cut a flat bottom on each of the pears so they stand straight. Place your knife beside the stem of the pear and cut down vertically, leaving the pear in two portions: the large portion being a little more than half the pear. Then carefully remove the very center of the pear and discard seeds. like this:
-Putting four large pieces of pear in a row along the pan means each slice of bread will have some fruit, and allows the pumpkin batter to seep throughout the loaf, to ensure it holds together.
-Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and using a wooden spoon or spatula: Mix just until there are no streaks or lumps of dry ingredients.
-Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan, and then place the pieces of pear into it, leaving equal spaces between and finishing the front of the loaf with a stemmed pear.
-Place in the oven immediately and bake for 45-50 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking. If you’re not sure if the loaf’s ready – press lightly on the center of the loaf with your index finger to ensure the cake bounces back up slightly after being pressed.
-Remove the loaf from the oven and rest in the pan for 5-10 mins. Lift the loaf out of the pan by the parchment paper and place on a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes or more. The resting period is crucial for the loaf, as the crumb needs time to properly set up with the moisture of the pears. This ensures you get nice clean slices. Don’t give in to impatience with this one!
**revision: bake the loaf more than 45 minutes, closer to one hour, and try slicing each pear half into three instead of two pieces – as the very center of the loaf became a little gloopy from the pear juices running to the center!**
And behold… a thing of beauty. Truly.
Good luck and Ciao for now Guys!