Pear and Hazelnut Loaf

Sometimes, pears can be a pain. They are never ripe when purchased from the local grocer, thus leaving them on the counter until forgotten about results in a sad couple of near-mush pieces of fruit. Similar to the concept of mashing overripe bananas, inspiration for this bread came from [who else?] Smitten Kitchen to add pears into a traditional muffin/bread recipe. I had a leftover container of hazelnuts from a previous recipe venture, but feel free to swap in your favorite nut, and always, always, add dark chocolate pieces. Required daily chocolate fix: fulfilled. Makes 2 loaves, or 12 muffins.
2Xvery ripe pears
6TBSPNSunsalted butter, melted
CUPcane sugar
2Xeggs, beaten
1 ½TSPNSvanilla extract
¾CUPalmond flour
1CUPall purpose flour
½CUPwhole wheat flour
¾TSPNbaking soda
2TSPNSbaking powder
1TSPNground cinnamon
½TSPNground cardamom and freshly ground nutmeg
1CUPhazelnuts, toasted and skinned, roughly chopped

  1. Set the oven to 425 degrees. Butter two small loaf pans, and set aside.
  2. Half and core the pears, and place the fruit in a small bowl. Use a fork to mash up the pears.
  3. Stir in the butter, sugar, milk, eggs, and vanilla extract to combine with the mashed pears.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours with the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and a generous pinch of salt.
  5. Mix the dark chocolate chunks and half of the chopped hazelnuts into the flour mixture, and make a well in the center.
  6. Pour the pear mixture into the well, or center of the flour mixture. Using a spatula, gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined.
  7. Transfer the batter evenly to the prepared loaf pans, and sprinkle with the remaining chopped hazelnuts.
  8. Place the pans in the oven, turn the heat of the oven down to 375 degrees, and bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If browning too quickly, tent the tops with tin foil for remainder of bake time.
  9. Allow loaves to cool in their pans for about 15 minutes, then transfer loaves to a cooling rack. Serve with your favorite jams or compound butters.


Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

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