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Loaves

Half way between a sweet bread and a bundt cake but soft, moist and so tasty! These are three adjectives I would use to describe this cake. The shape is the same as a sweet bread’s one. The consistency reminded me to a sort of bundt cake but not as crumbly and dry, thanks to the grated pears I added in the batter which gave moistness.

I choose a variety of pears I grow in my garden, called Kaiser. The fruit should be still firm and not too soft for two reasons: first, it comes easier to grate it; second, it will not be too jucy (as the batter has not to be too wet).

I also added some raisins, previously soaked in grappa (a tipical Italian spirit, really strong but perfect to come with the taste of pears and raisins). Grappa can be substituted with rum, which has a smoother taste or -if you have children- with some hot water. Last but not least, I put some pine nuts to add a crunchy touch.

This is perfect for breakfast (for the ones who love to have it sweet) or as a treat during the whole day.’Cause there is always a good excuse to stop for a minute and eat a slice of cake.

(This recipe is a free interpretation of Pear Bread from Smitten Kitchen’s blog)

PEAR, RAISIN AND PINE NUT BRUNDT CAKE

Prep Time: 15 min             Baking Time: 60-70 min


– 3 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
– 1  teaspoon salt

– 1/2 cup grappa (or rum)
– 1/2 cup raisins
– 1/2 cup pine nuts
– 3/4 cup butter, softened
– 3 eggs
– 2 cups sugar
– 4 pears firm, ripe pears, depending on size (you’ll need 2 grated cups total, but I don’t recommend you grate them until you are about to use them, so they don’t brown)
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Steps:

  1. Heat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and lightly grease and flour or two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl, and stir with a fork to mix everything well.
  3. In a little bowl, soak raisins in grappa. Add some hot water to cover, if needed and leave them
  4. Peel and core pears, then grate them. You’ll want two grated cups total; set them briefly aside.
  5. Combine the softned butter, eggs and sugar in a medium bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat until batter is smooth and well combined.  Add grated pear, drained raisins and vanilla, and stir to mix everything well. Scrape the pear mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until the flour disappears and the batter is evenly moistened.
  6. Quickly scrape the batter into the prepared pans and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the bread is handsomely browned and firm on top and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack  Then turn it out onto a plate or a wire rack to cool completely.
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Yesterday was a nice fall Saunday. It started raining in the morning, temperature was quite cold. I had some apples in the fridge as I picked up a whole bunch last week (yeah, I’m lucky I have several trees I grow by myself!). So, I wanted to bake something but not the same old pie. I started looking for a recipe and I remembered I had downloaded an app from Primerose (a bakery shop in London) last week. The section Loaves & Slices immediately drew my attention! The first recipe was an Apple and Blueberry Loaf…I didn’t need to be told twice 😉 I slightly changed some ingredients due to what I had in the fridge, but still the loaf turned out really yummy!!

APPLE, CRANBERRY AND PINE NUT LOAF

Prep Time: 15 minutes          Baking time: 1 hr        Specific Tools:  900 grams \ 9-by-5-Inch Loaf Pan

– 225g \ 2cups self-raising flour

– pinch of salt

– 125g \ 1 stick unsalted butter (fridge temperature)

– 175g \ 3/4 cups + 2tbsp granulated sugar

– 2 eggs

– 2 big apples

– a handful dried cranberries

– a handful pine nuts

– 4 tbsp rum

– hot water

– 4 tbsp apricot jam

Steps:

> Preheat the oven to 190°\380F\gas mark 5. Grease and flour a loaf baking tin, tapping out excess flour.

> Take a little bowl and fill it with hot water and the rum. Soak the dried cranberries and let them soften.

> Peel and slice the apples.

> In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and butter until it reaches a breadcrumbs texture.

> Add sugar and eggs beating until combined.

> Spoon half the batter into the tin and put half of the apples, cranberries (previously squeezed out) and pine nuts on top. Add the remaining batter and cover with the rest of the fruit.

> Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 60 minutes.

> Meanwhile, heat the apricot jam (either on the stove or the microwave) and when the loaf is done brush the warm jam over it.

> Cool in pan 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack (but it works aswell if you leave the loaf in its tin).

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