Sunday, January 12, 2014

Peeking Pear Breakfast Bread

D and I recently moved from Brooklyn, New York to a small city called Troy 15 miles north of Albany. We were supremely lucky to find an amazing Victorian house that's over 100 years old--perfect for hosting and entertaining guests. We had a wonderful housewarming party with our new neighbors and friends shortly after we moved in, but the first big event was a sleepover with 12 friends from the city, our annual post-holiday reGifting party.  

In addition to scaling up the amenities, I wanted to surprise my guests with a fun breakfast treat, and saw a recipe for a poached, whole-pear bread in Cooking Light magazine. I made the batter before my guests arrived the night before, and then, as everyone was heading off to bed, I poached the pears and baked the bread. Some curious friends stayed behind to see how it turned out.

Peeking Pear Maple Stout Breakfast Bread

1 3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp softened butter 
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla 
1/2 cup stout beer
1/2 cup vanilla or plain yogurt
5 tbsp maple syrup
3 pears
1/2 cup sugar 
3 cups water

Heat three cups of water with 1/2 cup sugar, stirring to dissolve. Add in the pears, whole with the stems, to poach for about 8 minutes or until tender. Remove from the water. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat sugar and eggs in a mixer; add eggs one at a time. Add the rest of the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients and then add to the wet a little at a time. 

Lightly dust the pears with flour and cut the bottoms off of the pears so that they sit evenly in a greased loaf pan. Pour the batter around the pears so that the batter is evenly distributed. Rinse the remaining flour from the stems. Pop in the oven for about 45 minutes, but monitor to see when the bread has risen, the sides come away from the pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Remove from the baking pan to a cutting board and slice decoratively to show the pear slices. Serve with good coffee. Bask in the compliments. 

  I just had to share this last picture. As the light was coming into the kitchen window, it shone through a pear slice like a stained glass window. Beautiful.

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