I'd seen the recipe for this here pear concoction on Smitten Kitchen a while back and could tell it'd be yummy (everything Deb makes looks yummy.) So I took advantage of the one PRECIOUS morning I have free each week (I don't have to work and our son is at nursery school - it's amazing!) to do some baking.
I put on what I consider perfect background entertainment - Pride & Prejudice (please note: I say "background" only because I have watched it so many times that I no longer really need to pay attention - BUT if you have not seen it yet, you should give it your full and undivided attention.) To be more specific, it was the BBC's version with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet. In case you're wondering, I thought the more recent one with Keira Knightley was pretty good but it just can't hold a candle to the BBC's version. Here is Elizabeth looking rather flustered after she's rejected Mr. Darcy's first insultingly offered proposal of marriage.
With these two cheering me on, I gathered my ingredients and prepared the bundt pan with a "cake release" of butter topped with a fine layer of flour.
Measured out a small mountain of flour with a healthy dose of cinnamon and chopped up some walnuts.
Peeled and cored the pears.
Grated them into two cups of mush and mixed it all together. And into the oven it went.
The house filled with a smell so lovely it should really be bottled and sold. And one delightfully-scented hour later, the cake emerged from the oven, all golden brown and cracking.
I let it cool for a bit then un-molded it onto the charming cake stand my mom gave me.
All that was left to do was top it with some powdered sugar and serve.
The ending was sweet for all involved (including Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.)
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 tsp baking powder
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
* 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
* 3/4 cup butter, softened, or 3/4 cup vegetable oil
* 3 eggs, lightly beaten
* 2 cups sugar
* 2 to 4 pears firm, ripe pears, depending on size (you’ll need 2 grated cups total)
* 2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and lightly grease and flour a bundt pan or two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl, and stir with a fork to mix everything well. If you’re using nuts, scoop out about 1/4 cup of the flour mixture and combine it in a small bowl with the chopped walnuts, stirring and tossing to coat the nuts with the flour.
3. Peel and core the pears, then grate them. You’ll want two grated cups total; set them briefly aside. In a medium bowl, combine the butter or oil, eggs, sugar, grated pear, nuts (if using), 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.
4. Quickly scrape the batter into the prepared pans and bake at 350°F 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.
5. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack or folded kitchen towel for about 10 minutes. Then turn it out onto a plate or a wire rack to cool completely, top side up. Serve it as is or sprinkle it with confectioners sugar.
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Also, these Bartlett Pears in Lady Grey Tea Syrup from Snowflake Kitchen sounds amazing to me (have not tried it yet). As does Marisa at Food In Jars' Pear Gingerbread.
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