Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Spiced Pear and Pistachio Bread with Maple Cream Cheese Drizzle

It’s starting to be more fall-like weather in the Seattle area, although we have a couple of cool, cloudy days and then its 85 degrees for a couple of days. At least it gets cooler at night, which means that the house doesn’t get so warm. I’ve been seeing so many pumpkin and Halloween recipes, but I’m not quite ready for that yet. I do have a couple of ginger and fall cookie recipes on the horizon, but not quite yet. This bread, combining pear and spices, is a first step towards the fall baking direction.

I have pistachios that I would like to use before they become stale, so I did some searching for pistachio loaf recipes. I was looking to find a pistachio and chocolate chunk loaf, but I didn’t really find that. I suppose that wouldn’t be too hard to create based on other recipes! I did find this recipe for pear and pistachio bread, which sounded great.

This, like most quick breads, was very easy to put together. I used to have trouble with loaves baking properly, but I have a heavy gauge loaf pan now and that seems to help a lot. I also test the loaf with a thin knife, which really tests the center of the loaf for doneness. My only challenge was the cream cheese drizzle. The original recipe didn’t call for any powdered sugar, and maybe that can work but it didn’t in my case. I ended up whisking in about a cup and a half of powdered sugar. I had LOTS of drizzle, but that’s not really a bad thing. I liked this bread quite a bit, although I think I would add even more spices.

Spiced Pear and Pistachio Bread with Maple Cream Cheese Drizzle
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 egg
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup milk
¼ cup heavy cream
2 medium pears, peeled, cored and diced    
⅓ cup pistachios, chopped

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 5” loaf pan with foil, allowing the foil to overhang the sides of the pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, egg, sugar, and vanilla on medium until smooth.  Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low. Add the milk and heavy cream, continuing to beat on low. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix on low until the flour is incorporated into the batter. The batter will not be completely smooth. Fold in the pears and pistachios with a spatula. Spoon into the prepared pan.  

Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a thin knife inserted into the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then remove the loaf from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Once the loaf has cooled, make the drizzle. In a medium bowl combine the cream cheese, maple syrup, powdered sugar, and butter and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled loaf. Refrigerate the loaf for 30 minutes to set the drizzle.

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