A year and a half ago, an Op-Ed ruined bananas for me. Everyone knows in a kid’s mind, there are only three fruits: apples, oranges and bananas. Apples grow in the fall. Oranges grow by grandma’s house in Florida. And bananas grow in… corporation-cleared rainforest in Latin America by laborers deprived of worker’s rights, an economic condition reinforced by heavy-handed military tactics? Egads, people, I so didn’t learn that side of the story as a kid.
Look, I didn’t give up bananas that day; they’re still sliced them into my oatmeal, over my cottage cheese and eaten to occasionally convince myself that it’s not a real dessert I’m craving, and I’m not here to nudge you to either. But there has been a whole lot less banana bread in my life since last year, and I’ve missed it. Yet you can imagine my surprise realizing that most of what made banana bread awesome for me had little to do with bananas, something I discovered making pear bread last week.
What they share in common is a subtlety, a quietness that goes so gently with a mid-afternoon cup of coffee. That, cinnamon, a rich crumb and an ease in putting them together. Unlike banana bread, I didn’t go head-over-heels for this the moment it came out of the oven. We liked it, but we didn’t flip over it just yet. That came the next day, and then the day after that, and was reinforced now five days later: this cake keeps getting better, and it’s been the coziest part of the holiday so far, second only to this sighing bundle zonked out by the fire, after being hypnotized by the tree’s sparkling lights. I hope your day has been at least as cozy and warm.
One year ago: Gramercy Tavern’s Gingerbread
Two years ago: Blue Cheese Iceberg Wedge
Three years ago: Stuffed Mushrooms and Gougères
Adapted from Nancy McDermott’s Southern Cakes, which attributes it to one Cornelia Walker
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
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, but I don’t recommend you grate them until you are about to use them, so they don’t brown)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Heat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan or two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.
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.
Peel and core 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.
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.
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, sprinkle it with confectioners sugar or drizzle it with a simple glaze made from whisking 3 tablespoons buttermilk, a dash of vanilla and 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar together.
272 comments on pear bread
Deb, this looks amazing! And unfortunately as a kid, I did learn about the whole banana thing… Stupid NYC school system ruining the minds of 7 year olds…
Question, what’s with all the question marks in the recipe?
After posting my comment, the question marks disappeared. Sorry… :)
I was fixing them in the 30 seconds after this posted. It never fails that a comment appears before I have a chance to make fixes! :)
Looks gorgeous. I love the sugar sifting action shot! I also read an article in a British paper a few months ago that really depressed me about bananas :( But I still love my banana bread!
This is really nice bread! Never thought of making it with pears. Bet these would make nice muffins, too. Photos are beautiful !!!!
delicious! I’m a huge fan of pears- I think they’re one of the most underrated fruits. BTW brought your cappuccino fudge cheesecake to christmas dinner… was a huge hit, and has already been requested for a birthday next week!
Have you been introduced to responsibly grown organic bananas? Even the little local market on the Upper West Side sells them. http://www.organicsunlimited.com/organics/grow
I find Pears tasteless, never to ripen properly, they seem to always turn to flavorless mush before they ripen.
Pears are flavorful and delicious in the Pacific Northwest. I hope you get to have a good one someday. They are almost like candy to me.
Yes, a good pear is heavenly!! Our tree had a number of these, but unfortunately too many that were just pretty good or OK. I’m turning them mostly into pear butter or apple-pear sauce (we have apple trees too), or just plain pear sauce, as I’m learning they can be used in place of applesauce! :)
I made this bread last night and had a couple pieces today. It’s good. We’ll see how we like it tomorrow… :)
Saw these photos last night and was thinking how delicious it looked. But my refrigerator is already filled with dessert leftovers (thank you for your simple apple tart / brownie mosaic cheesecake recipes- both hits at the dinner table!)… Want this, but can’t justify making another dessert … But only two cups of sugar? Breakfast cake! :D Merry Christmas, Deb! Thank you for all your fantastic photos and recipes… Looking forward to them always…
Pears are just so stinkin’ elegant. I love recipes that incorporate them.
your swaddle looks as good as ALL your recipes!
i just received vietnamese cinnamon…would you suggest i use it for this recipe?
…hope your day was cozy & warm…:)
Thanks for the banana info! I’m glad to be an early comment on a recipe.
Deb, I wanted to tell you that you were very much a part of our Christmas celebration this year. I made the dough for cinnamon swirl buns last night and baked them this morning. We had huevos rancheros for lunch, and I made the salted brown butter crispy treats for dessert at my mom’s dinner this evening. Everyone loved them. Thank you for making our holiday eating easy, fun, and delicious!
Another holiday card/love letter to you and your fabulous site. I made rugelach pinwheels, world peace cookies and vanilla roasted pears (to serve with cheese & crackers) for my holiday party. Everything turned out beautifully, and it’s all thanks to you. Cooking from your site is like having a friend in the kitchen – you get so much more than just a recipe.
Thanks for all you do for us! Happy New Year to you and your family.
Oooh, thanks for this. I need a way to use up all the pears in my house before they go bad!
This looks so great and a fantastic way to use the pears I have sitting upstairs! Hope you’re enjoying your holidays with your little one!
Sweet and delicious, just like that precious “burrito”! :)
This looks great and I’ll try it. But I think you should move to Hawaii and grow your own bananas in your back yard. No corporations do that! :)
Looks good! But what I want to know is what you had for christmas and what you’re doing with the leftovers!
This looks great. I’d like to make some for my significant other before I take off for a month so he has something to nourish him while I’m gone. Do you have any sense of how this freezes/ keeps in the fridge?
This looks delicious! This looks like a fair compromise for the sweet-laden days that encompass this season (I don’t want to think about the amount of cookies I’ve made in the past few weeks): warm, delectable, sweet, but not cloyingly so.
This looks amazing! I just want to say thank you for making my family’s Christmas wonderful this year. I made your chocolate beer and whiskey cupcakes, and your snickerdoodles. They were a huge hit with my family and promptly evaporated despite the fact that I had made enough to feed a small army. Your blog is truly an inspiration. Thank you and happy holidays!!
What a precious napping bundle! And thanks for another great pear recipe. I have some waiting to become roasted vanilla pears. Thanks also for the braised brussel sprout recipe – they graced our table this afternoon and everyone loved them. Have a wonderful, fun and adventurous New Year!
Clearly I am destined to make the pear bread since I had both the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread and the iceberg wedge today! Apparently your Christmas posts agree with me. Hope you had a merry day and thanks for the great new idea! My littlest boy only eats bananas but will eat anything that looks like cake or bread so this is a good way to introduce another new-to-him fruit….
Hi Deb – chiming in to say I made the Gingerbread Apple Upside Down Cake for Christmas dessert today, and it was a hit!
this very well may be the perfect way to use the last of my Christmas Harry and David pears…lovely recipe!
I was wondering what type of pears did you use.
Jackie — I used anjou pears, I think. They were pretty firm.
About us being less than enamored with this cake at first — I realized as I was posting this that it was user error. I used too few pears! As I was typing up the recipe, I realized that I had misread it; I thought I needed “2” pears, not “2 cups” of grated pear (2 of the pears that I had definitely made less than two cups). Which absolutely contributed to the fact that we were not immediately swooning over the cake — I thought it might need more pear! Which a) it does, and yours will and b) it still got better on it’s own. So win-win.
here’s another source of guilt-free bananas. I think they have them in NYC. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWeo7VA4b4k
After a long ten hours in the kitchen today, from assembling a collard green potato gratin to roasting a goose to making gravy and herb butter and cranberry orange relish and baking sourdough rolls I really should be in bed. I opened Safari one last time tonight to see if you might have updated today and lo and behold, amidst all the holiday fuss, you found the time. We truly are slaves to our craft.
Thank you for inspiring me to make the best food I possibly can and thank you for the endless ideas that you unknowingly bestow in my mind. I hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday season and I wish you and your family all the best in the year to come. Only five days away from a new decade!
I will be making this pear recipe; the vanilla pears were good. I keep pears refrig and like to eat them when they are still hard with bleu cheese and walnuts. You can also made a nice quick bread with dried apricots or figs.
I’ve never even thought of pear bread as a possibility. This looks wonderful. Thanks for all the photogenic, yummy holiday recipes.
This looks like the perfect simple recipe to remedy the over-indulgent holiday fare. Speaking of which I served your Cappuchino fudge cheesecake for Christmas dessert and boy was it worth the effort!! So, delicious and not to mention impressive looking!! Thanks for all the great recipes.
How lovely! I adore pears!
Awakened by barking dog –
Discover pear bread recipe on Smitten Kitchen feed –
Hmmm – this is a sign ! I am up. Why not start now ?
mmmm – thank you.
Great now I have something else to be guilty about. Always nice to find a new tradition and I’m sure this recipe will be come one of them.
Yum! Always looking for new pear recipes. Since trying to eat local I’ve also eaten a lot fewer bananas. I feel better about that now that I’ve heard about the machetes :-(
This looks amazing! I love pears in crisps, but never in a cake. I will definately try this. Thank you for sharing with us, Deb!
Jacob looks so warm and cozy wrapped up for his nap! He is just adorable!
As always, the pear bread looks delicious! Hope you had a wonderful first Christmas with your baby boy, Deb! :)
I love pear bread! Been making it for years and it never fails that I get comments like “I didn’t know you could do that with pears”. I tell people it’s like apple cake but more subtle. Try adding a bit of ginger and/or cardamom next time, it’s delicious.
Really nice looking cake! The baby is too cute all swaddled up and cozy. Wish I could snooze like that!
This looks delicious…headed for a ski trip…this recipe is now on the menu! Your chive butter mushroom toasts were a big hit Christmas Eve and I made the absolutely delicious Fudge Cappacino Cheesecake again but tried substituting orange juice concentrate, orange zest, orange liquer and it was wonderful!! ( I left out the rum and just tried to make liquid measurements equal in substitutions with lots of zest in the cheesecake filling) I decorated top just like yours but added orange rind string peelings. It was very pretty.
I think this looks great and I have plenty of pears in my fridge. I just hope they aren’t too ripe. :) I also wanted to thank you so much for all of they time you put into this. I having been giving away pecan sandies and snickerdoodles this year and they have been a great hit. Thanks again for everything you do here!
Thanks for posting this – that same op-ed piece ruined bananas for me as well. I’m so happy to have an alternative for banana bread!
Happy holidays to you and yours and I look forward to cooking with you some more in 2010!
Thanks for the lovely way to use up all those pears that arrive in gift baskets!
I like pears and have made pear cake, replacing the apples in a recipe and think any fruit bread/cake gets better with age. I am in awe of your pear cutting abilities. Any chance of a pear butter recipe?
Your baby is too precious, miss swaddling mine. Even at 12 he does with the blanket bundling on the couch and sometimes he shares.
Having spent the run-up to the holidays in a house full of ill people, looking forward to sending out post holiday gifts to the neighbors. This sounds perfect! Thanks for making so many of our meals over the year so much merrier.
This is one of my VERY favorite recipes. Quinn would have me keep a constant supply of this in the house.
Deb, and Monday Tree, if you live with a bit of land you can grow your own pears in the northern US. I have pear trees in my yard. I have moonglows which are delicious. Unfortunately the crosspollinator died, and I’m waiting for the new pollinator to grow large enough to blossom well. I still have canned pears from the tree from two or three years ago, well sealed.
Also, don’t feel guilt about bananas, just look for the better ones.I see several writers offered links for alternative sources. There are some US growers in southern California, but they only grow small amounts. Too bad for us in northern climes, where they can grow in the yard!
i made the vanilla roasted pears for last night’s desert. so good. but, now a pear related question. how do you de-stem your pears, a paring knife? yours look so precise, mine were less so (not that it matters for the pear cake). sort of mangled and sad.
your little snoozing bundle is scrumptous. thank you for sharing.
On cutting pears — I have a slightly OCD method that is in no way a prerequisite to coring pears… I slice them in half through the stem, lengthwise, scoop out the cores with a melon baller and use a paring knife (or chef’s knife, as you know, I’m a one-knife girl) to remove the stems. I just angle in a cut on either side of the stem and pull them out.
You’re so sweet. But I live in a concrete jungle.
I can only grow weeds on my windy terrace, unfortunately not pears.
In Manhattan (where I live) there are other varieties of bananas to be enjoyed because of all different ethnic and speciality markets.
This bread looks fantastic – I am ALL ABOUT pears at the moment. Last night for a dinner party I made the brown butter vanilla pear crisps you previous posted, as well as the artichoke olive crostini, and both were a hit. Thank you so much for all the great inspired recipes! And that photo of Jacob swaddled on the couch is a bit too precious for words. Look at all that hair!
Thanks — great to read a post that makes you more aware of social issues, but also offers alternatives…
I read that editorial about bananas, too. I hadn’t been buying them for a while (since reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) but that article cemented it for me. Besides the ethical problems with bananas, local fruit like pears, apples, peaches, and cherries taste so much better! But…we’re living in Mexico for a year and have been indulging in local bananas and pineapples. Such a treat!
My husband just announced that he doesn’t want to buy bananas anymore for reasons similar to those mentioned in the op-ed. I agree, even the organic bananas at the store come from the same source. I’ll miss them, but perhaps I can find something else to thicken up my oatmeal with such flavor.
Made the cappucinno cheesecake for Christmas. OMG, OMG everyone was swooning. I am the cheesecake queen but I must say this was my best so far. Thanks fot the suggestion. Happy New Year.
I’ll definitely have to try this…we also don’t buy bananas. Not at all, though, and not oranges either (they don’t grow in NY). I’ve found applesauce to be a good substitute in a banana bread recipe.
I adored bananas as a kid, but was blissfully ignorant of the political issues. Thankfully I discovered that it’s really the cinnamon-y goodness that I craze in quick breads, and now I make them with shredded zucchini or pureed green tomatoes from my garden instead.
A good reason to buy organic bananas. This looks like a recipe I have to try. I always thought the French very smart in using pears more in baked goods such as cakes. Here it’s hard to find recipes like that.
Pears are awesome in yeasted bread as well. Made a modified stollen recently and threw in a too ripe pear. Used a cup of whole wheat flour, a quarter cup of rye and the rest “Better for Bread” white flour, some cranberries, cinnamon, pecans and about 1/3 cup diced candied citron. It was delicious with the pear seeming to add a moist lushness. I make them in my bread machine then remove after one rising, shape, rise, then bake in the oven.
Hope you had a great holiday with your wonderful little papoose!
I totally would have thought Pear Bread was weird a few weeks ago–for some reason just can’t picture the texture resulting in the same moist bite as banana bread. But I recently had my friend’s mother’s Ginger Pear Cake and it was out of control delicious. You may have a pear bread lover of me yet. thanks for the recipe!!
Deb, thx so much for this recipe…I will no longer buy bananas..unless I am desperate…not a big fan anyhow. But I wanted to thank you SO very much for the Spinach and Cheese Strata…made it on Christmas Eve and baked it and served it on Christmas morning. It was a huge hit, and sooooo easy to finish that morning. Everyone loved it and I passed on your website to lots of family members who love to cook :)
Woke up to this email this morning, ran down to the store and grabbed some pears, whipped it all together for breakfast and got thumbs up all around. The only change I made was swapping sugar with Splenda for my diabetic father, came out great!
Side note, grading pears is a very odd experience.
Thanks so much for the brunch recipes this week. I made the french toast casserole for Christmas breakfast and it was completely devoured before everyone had a chance to try it…so guess who is making a repeat for tomorrow. Thanks again for great recipes this year.
The real issue with bananas is that they are disgusting. =)
But other than that, the pear bread looks great!! Pears are are one of the few fruits I actually like, so I’m glad to see another recipe with them.
Deb, If Grandma has oranges, she might also have bananas ;) That way you can keep eating them without the guilt.
Thank you Deb for an amazing dinner last night….I made the braised short ribs and they were fabulous…..Do agree with one of the comments that it makes sense to take the meat out of the liquid if making the night before–much easier to remove the fat….You rock!
This sounds heavenly, I love the taste of pears. I am curious to see if this is more like a cake or a quickbread. I have terrible luck with quick bread for some reason.
I love the idea of a pear bread to rival banana. I also LOVE that you made it cake-style. Pretty! I now know what to do with pears before it’s too late.
The bananas I grow in my backyard are so different from the store bought ones, Mine smell and taste super sweeter, But the trees take so long to mature )=, I wasn’t aware of any political issues…anyway I want to try this but without the cinnamon i’m not in the mood for cinnamon
You’re making me fat I ate four Cinnamon rolls yesterday (possibly the reason why im NOT in the mood for more cinnamon) the recipe here is the best one ive tried, I had a lot of fun making the dough
I never feel guilty eating bananas. I never feel guilty eating. Therein lies the problem.
I have to agree wholeheartedly with Deidre’s comment to you.
Thank you for introducing me to some of the best recipes and techniques on the internet.
This looks and sounds soo good :-)
Deb, Thanks for all of the great recipes…you made the holiday baking season oh so wonderful this year! :-)
P.S I am envious of your swaddling skills :-)
Happy New Year!
This bread looks so great! I really need to start making things using pear. :)
I completely agree with you about bananas. I’m a Development Studies major at Berkeley with an emphasis on Latin America. I remember the first time I read about United Fruit Company in Guatemala and have steered clear of bananas ever since. The havoc they’ve incurred in Central America coupled with the environmental costs of shipping fruit thousands of miles just doesn’t make it worth it to me. I have great appreciation for people (like yourself) who have an understanding of what it takes for food to get to their tables and try to make choices about consumption accordingly. Pears look like a lovely alternative to bananas in this bread, I can’t wait to give it a try. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and recipe with us!
Thanks for the recipe and the Op-Ed. I don’t think I’ll cut the bananas straight out of my diet (and my children’ diet anytime soon but will try to focus on purchasing different varieties when available. But I agree that pears are a great piece of fruits and we can do more with them than we can just imagine! I just made Pear Tartelettes with chocolate the other day and my children loved it!
I think of pears as a more subtle-tasting fruit, but I bet this bread is delicious enough to taste more like bread. Great recipe!
This sounds wonderful. I can use something cozy!
There are a lot of bananas in my country! :D
Tasty, undeniably, but I have three words for you – Bill Granger’s Banana Bread (oops, that’s four! ha ha). Must be eaten toasted, smeared with butter and sprinkled with icing sugar….=heaven.
Oh, no, that was meant to be Coconut Bread. Hopefully you can delete the “banana”.
That’s why I say, *thank you* Sainsbury’s (in the UK) for committing to sourcing 100% Fair Trade Bananas (and delivering). I often complain about British grocery stores running out of basic staples in a way that would *never* happen in the States, but in this regard (sustainability and fair trade initiatives) US chains could learn a thing or two.
I am really excited about this. Contrary to every else, I have never loved banana bread, because I don’t like bananas! But I love pears and I love zucchini bread, so I think I will give this a shot for sure. My mom is spending three months out of the country and my dad and I will be here alone, so I’m going to be the primary chef – meaning that we need to have lots of things on hand for when I don’t feel like cooking!
Breakfast has never been my favorite meal, either, unless there’s a cake or bread or something that I can just slap some butter on and eat quickly. I’m not really an oatmeal person :/
I love pears and this bread looks awesome. I’m thinking of making a couple for late holiday season hostess gifts. I’m a big fan of cardamom and would like to incorporate some. Do you think I should just sub some of the cinnamon with cardamon? Maybe a half a teaspoon? Or just add the cardamom? I’m concerned that one tablespoon of cinnamon is a lot and will overwhelm the more subtle cardamom flavor.
Love love love the updates of the little guy. Keep ’em coming. Loved your recent NYC pix too, was a bit jealous out here in sunny (but not so warm) L.A.
i baked your blueberry boy bait & brought it to friends on xmas day…what a delicious hit… coming from very tough critics (everyone wanted the recipe!!)
i baked it in a “bake & give paper bundt pan” & it really was wonderful…so thank you for making me such a rock star!
your post on “building a smitten kitchen” was informative with great direction…would you ever consider a post on the brands of ingredients you prefer to bake/cook with?
i have been testing alot of butters & still fall back on land o lakes (i tried baking w/ plugra, kerry gold & a french butter & even cutting back on amount -by one tablespoon- i thought consistency was too oily…perhaps i am doing something wrong)…
sorry i have been rambling…& i know this is unrelated to this post…have a great sunday…off to bj’s to buy butter! :)
Thanks for the link to the op-ed! I wondered why bananas are so cheap- it figures average people somewhere are paying the price. This recipe sounds good- I love pears, so I’ll have to try it!
After spending a Spring Break in Honduras building a church in the middle of a Dole banana plantation I STILL (10 years later) feel a pang of guilt every time I eat a banana. I do eat them, buy a bunch each week, but I kind of hate myself for doing it. I’d happily pay twice as much for bananas in order for the workers to receive a living wage. Bananas are way under-priced for the cost it takes to grow them.
made this with a dash of cardamom (as one subscriber mentioned) and it’s deeeelicious! thanks so much and happy holidays!
Deb, thank you so much for posting a recipe with an option for vegetable oil! I am always looking for more non-dairy options (for serving with meat meals) and I am super-excited to try this one out. Thanks again!
Sara, Devora — In almost any muffin or quickbread, you can substitute oil for the butter. Although you miss out on the butter’s flavor, oil actually keeps these baked goods slightly more moist. Butter is solid at room temperature; oil is liquid — this is why.
Yay, Deb!!! This is my first time trying one of your recipes! It’s cooling on the counter now and I can’t wait to try it. Sara (comment #89), I was thinking the same thing! It’s such a bummer to substitute margarine for butter so it’s nice when something calls for oil.
Deb, I’m a newbie to baking/cooking from scratch. My best friend taught me to bake “outside-of-the-box” when we made your cranberry scone recipe together…my first experience baking without a mix! Since then, I’ve wanted to try just about every recipe. Just recently I made mini apple-cinnamon loafs for co-worker Christmas gifts, and they were such a hit that I made a normal-sized one for Christmas morning with my new in-laws. I am so excited to try this pear bread next. Thanks for making the world of cooking and baking so fun and not-so-intimidating to a newbie like me! :)
I made this bread last night to take to a pot luck and it was a hit! I’ve never thought to use pears in a quick bread as they don’t even have a pronounced flavor when eaten out of hand. I was sure they would be lost in a cake loaded with cinnamon and nuts. The pear flavor is very subtle, but it’s there. I did add a 1/2 tsp of nutmeg because I thought it would be a nice additional accent and it was, and I don’t usually care for nutmeg with fruit. A “Cozy flavor” is the right description of this cake. I would make this again.
Woooo gorgeous looking cake!
Local pears here in China means Tianjin pears, or Chinese apple-pears. These worked beautifully in two loaves which have now been devoured. Because these are very juicy, I squeezed the extra liquid out.
Lovely recipe, per usual, and your photo of ??? Jacob gave a lilt to my day!
I made this today and it was delicious.Thank you for the recipe- it is definitely a keeper. I have been making a pear cake that uses chunks of pear and that has always been a favorite of my 12 year old. I recently tried an upside down maple -pear cake which was so evocative of this season. I made your French Toast on Christmas morning- used a single layer of bread. It may soon be a Sunday morning staple in our house.
This post was perfectly timed, having received an over-size fruit basket from the in-laws. I took out all of the pears and excitedly gave this cake a try. I must share, however, that even amping up the quantity of pear (5 small ones) still didn’t yield a ‘holy cow I must make this again’ response, though it was completely delicious. I baked it in a Bundt pan (75 minutes, for benefit of others trying this at home) and each member of our family ate his/her entire slice. But, it was hard to discern the pear taste. Though, I will give it time, as it is only 24 hours old and am anxiously waiting to see how it improves today, tomorrow, etc.
I’ve made pear bread a few times before (from bakeorbreak), and I LOVE it. I’ve posted it on my blog as well – it’s definitely one of my favorite quick breads.
I bet some fresh nutmeg would really be great in this – I love the combo of pear and nutmeg.
Deb…can’t wait to make the pear cake, but really must… As many others have already said…thanks for being such a big part of our family Christmas celebration. The Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread…baked and given away as presents. The Vanilla Roasted Pears were served on Christmas evening with a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of the Butterscotch Sauce….oohs and ahhs abounded. And I just must add that Mom’s Apple Cake is a staple at our house…my 16 year old son, can practically eat the whole thing at one sitting….(BTW…welcome to your future…)
I made this. Its not bad, but my ultimate test is “would I make it again? and I think the answer is “no”. I think that 1 tablespoon of cinnamon greatly overpowers the bread. In actuality, I only added 2 and a half teaspoons and found it to be way too strong of cinnamon. While cinnamon is dleightful, too much is no good.
I made this last night, using 5 of the Harry & David Royal Riviera pears we got for Christmas. They were quite ripe and exuded a lot of juice, most of which I just dumped into the batter along with the grated pear. They were sooooooo sweet, though, that I ended up wishing I’d reduced the amount of sugar to compensate (I think regular Bartletts, which is what I usually have available around here, would be less sugary)–do you think that would hurt the texture?
Anyway, even with all the pear juice dumped in, the cake baked up beautifully and tastes delicious (if a little sweet).
Oh, and I left out the cinnamon because I wanted to taste the pears more. No regrets on that point.
Just made this–bosc pears, canola oil. Really delicious, and the husband swooned over how moist it is. Thanks!
With twins almost two and a 6 yr old who dislikes oranges (but loves apples and bananas) I find it impossible to imagine living without them – luckily I can buy them without a guilty conscience as we mostly grow our own here (Australia). Where I grew up we had a big banana and sugarcane industry – once a year was the banana festival – (my mother-in-law was a ‘banana festival queens’) and my childhood was full of frozen banana ‘ice-cream’, choc dipped bananas, deep-fried sugar-coated bananas, bananas on the hotplate at every BBQ, and in every school lunch box (then to manifest as banana bread when they were a bit past it and you still had half a bunch lingering in the kitchen). Surprisingly, I still love them – but pear bread does sound rather tasty…
My dad brought home some gigantic Korean pears the other day AND my mom’s birthday is happening. This recipe popped up at the perfect time! I can’t wait to try it :) (AND my mom got me a tube pan especially so that I started baking her stuff so even more perfect!)
Oops, just realized I accidentally broke a few of your comment guidelines! Sorry! Wow there are lots of rules.
Made this last night, and it smelled great but tasted a bit lame. But this morning I remembered you said it got better over time, and it really had improved overnight! Thanks for another great recipe! I also made your peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for an xmas party, and everyone loved them as usual. :)
oh also, i made two loaves and they only needed to be baked for about 50 minutes.
My husband’s best friend is single, and he has a huge pear tree that yields an overwhelming harvest each year. The things drop left and right, and he’s got no clue what to do with them.
Enter this recipe, and a sweet idea of pear bread for bachelor, for our neighbors, for the old folks at the home, for, heck, the whole town!
Now, I need a recipe for some pear wine to sip while I bake.
You’ve done it again! Did it exactly to the recipe, with the glaze. Happy faces over breakfast!
Thanks for this recipe. It was great. My husband and I restrained ourselves from eating it for twenty four hours. It was wonderful. This with a slice of cheese and a cup of hot tea is just the thing for a NorEaster. Thanks again.
I caved and went out and bought the type of pears that you seemed to use for fear that the asian variety were too grainy and watery. The cake turned out great– except mine lacked a certain picture perfectness that your food always seems to have. Is there a secret? The top of mine cracked and some sections puffed up a bit more than others… What’s the secret to that smooth top?
May — It’s probably just luck of the draw with ovens. My old one couldn’t top-brown to save it’s life; this new one browns things so well, even quiche looks brûléed. Oh, and both are whatever-the-rental-management-company-could-get-cheapest models, so it’s not about throwing money at the problem. Your oven might not bake as evenly, or the ingredients could have been unevenly mixed.
Yum, this sounds good. My husband dislikes the texture of cooked fruit, but he does eat banana bread, so grating the pears in might convince him to try this as well. Thanks!
Wow, I wish I would have seen this just 2 weeks ago when I was trying to use up the last bit of pears I had.
I made your pear bread and it’s super yummy! I added walnuts so I think it masked the pear a bit.
ps LOVE your blog and recipes
This is baking as we speak… :) The pears turned really brown so fast, I’m pretty sure it won’t be turning out as light colored as it did for you, but either way with the way the smell is filling up the room, it’s going to be tasty I’m sure.
My housemates came home from hospital today, we enjoyed catching up over a piece of hot pear bread straight from the oven. It was delicious and enjoyed by all, thank you for the recipe! Your blog is fantastic and the photos so inspiring.
These turned out amazing! Granted, as I suspected once the pears oxidated they turned brown really quick and of course, the bread came out brown. Either way, they were perfectly moist and delicious!
On the other hand, the bread tasted just like banana bread, or should I say, didn’t have enough “pear” taste to it. I was wondering, if I wanted to increase the amount of pears I used (eg. 2 cups) to double that, would I need to decrease anything else in the recipe to compensate for the extra pears or could I just add it and leave the recipe the same?
YUM! Made just this morning using oil and no nut and in two loafs. While the pears are a bit challenging to shred by hand and right into the bowl of my wet so they did not have an opportunity to turn, it was worth it. I found it to be much lighter than a dense banana loaf… next time I’m adding a pinch of almond extract, because I think pears and almond go so nicely together.
Making this now, just put it in the oven. I’ve had it in the back of my mind since I first saw you post it. Can’t wait to taste it!!
Just made this today and my family went crazy! It is delicious! Did not have enough pears however, so I mashed up 1 banana and threw it in. Kids don’t like nuts so left those out and used 1/2 butter, 1/2 oil. The house smelled heavenly while it was baking! Just had another small (well, kinda small) piece with coffee ice cream before bedtime. YUM!
I made this for a party – lovely! I diced the pears instead of grating them which was messy and kinda tedious. Although, the texture would have been more consistently moist throughout had I grated the pears. Thanks for another great recipe!
Pears…what a great idea…I made this a few days ago
and truly enjoy it…it will be made frequently…thanks
Oh my goodness, is there anything better then a house full of the sweet aroma of cinnamon? I submit there is not. YUM!
I made this and it is tasty, moist and easy, but not terribly pear-y. It was a good use of some extra pears, but not overwhelmingly spectacular. I added 1/2 tsp of cardamom simply because I often like it with pears. Wondering how to play up the pear-ness! Keeps well.
I played around with the recipe a bit, just because I’ve been trying to use a few “healthier” ingredients. So, I substituted whole wheat flour, coconut oil for butter, and 1.5 cups agave for sugar. I also thought almond flavoring might work well with the pears, and threw in about a tbsp of cocoa powder. well okay, i also threw in some chocolate chips (don’t know exactly how much because my boys were helping me bake tonight and their little paws kept reaching in and in) and pecans. Anyway, I know this sounds like a number of changes, (and i should try the original version sometime!) but it really ended up great – very moist, and delicious. I love the cardamom idea above – maybe next time around. thanks for all your great recipes, haven’t been disappointed yet :)
I had the exact same feeling after reading that article – didn’t make a conscious decision to not eat bananas, but definitely have barely eaten any since!! So excited about this recipe, Thanks Deb!
You’ll have to come and spend time in Australia! We’re lucky enough to grow our own bananas right here in the tropical north of the country… so there’s plenty of guilt-free banana bread to go round! ;)
I just made this again in muffins, with the following revisions:
I replaced a cup of the flour with a cup of whole-wheat flour, I used Cortland apples instead of pears (three huge ones, and I squeezed out most of the juice after I grated them because they were superbly juicy), and 1/4 cup less sugar. It made 10 big muffins, which took about 35 minutes to bake through and develop that nice crust. They’re great! The whole-wheat is indiscernible. I’m going to try reducing the sugar by another 1/4 cup next time and see what happens.
The pear bread didn’t last five days for us to see how much better it kept getting, but it did make it to Day 3, and it’s true… the flavor just kept rounding out and becoming more divine, almost caramel-like, with that salty edge.
My natural foods store out here in Oregon sells the Organics Unlimited bananas, too. Seems like they’re the best option. They treat their workers well and donate money to education and health causes in Mexico.
Guilt-free banana bread here in Bermuda too! Finding decent pears is a problem here though.
Luckily, I haven’t had bananas spoilt for me, I have no idea what you are talking about with respect to it. And good for me, because I eat a LOT of bananas!! But it’s still great to have an alternative!
I made this on Monday Morning. Big hit with the family.
Thanks for the great recipes.
I love banana bread…. this is even better!
I saw a piece on 60 Minutes about the banana trade and no go out of my way to get bananas at a co-op that carries organic, fair-trade bananas. I recommend!
lovely,I’m a self confessed fan of banana bread but you have convinced me and I will bake this baby really soon!.
This pear bread is perfect; my co-workers and I have enjoyed it alongside tea for the last two days in our seemingly arctic office. Mmm.
I just made this and it smells heavenly!
Can’t wait to have a slice for breakfast tomorrow!
P.S. I core my pears the same way. If there’s a better way, I don’t know what it is.
Quick update: I made some of the batter into muffins and they’re so good!
I just put them in at 350 for about 20 minutes… first for 15 then checking several times near the end until the tester came out clean.
Thanks for sharing this great recipe, Deb!
Made this bread and loved it. I love the light graininess the grated pear adds to the texture. This bread is much better next day: more pronounced flavor and better crumb after the cake has had the time to cool completely and rest.
I think that walnuts are a must in this bread. Mine took close to 90 minutes to bake through and develop a nice, firm crust. It did not burn at all.
1. A pinch of freshly ground cloves and thought it really helped enhance the flavor.
2. about half a cup of frozen cranberries, chopped. They balance the sweetness very nicely.
Things I will change next time:
Will definitely use less sugar. My pears were very sweet and ripe. I found two cups of sugar excessive.
1. If using butter, not oil, how to incorporate it into the batter?
I like to use butter in this type of bread. But was not sure how to incorporate it. I used the old “cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy” method. I then beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. This method worked very well, producing excellent crumb, moist but not too dense. However, it is a bit time consuming and if there is an easier way to do it, I’d love to try it.
2. What to do with the pear juice? Did you just add the grated pears, juice and all, to the batter or did you drain them first? I drained mine a little, and still thought that there was too much juice.
Thank you for yet another great recipe. This one is a keeper.
Hi Tanya — You could melt the butter and mix it as you would the oil or do it the way you did, which is indeed the “correct” way to add butter to a cake. I didn’t have pear juice but if I did, I would have just added it to the batter.
I’ve been visiting your site for a while now, and finally baked pear bread this past weekend — big hit at work! Everyone loved it. I only did a few dashes of cinnamon since I’m not a big fan of strong cinnamon flavour, but otherwise it’s delicious and very sweet. Like others, I ended up with plenty of pear juice as well. I got an amazing crunchy top with my oven; I thought it was too much when I saw it, but it’s actually a great contrast texture.
I made this last night as bread with canola oil and 4 Bosc pears (I think it was more than 2 c, but a little more is better right?). Smelled so good baking! The amount of cinnamon had me wondering if it might be too much, but it was just right. My top was not crunchy, but the same as a loaf of banana bread – that could be due to the oven though.
I wished I’d paid more attention to your photos. Having never dissected a pear before, I didn’t realize the core went all the way to the stem!
This bread is delicious and has been nourishing us through Snowpocalypse weekend. One tip: as I have a two year old “helper,” I need to move quickly through some steps and neither peeled nor cored the pears, just grated them, peel and all down to the core. I love your site!
My friends have decided that I should open a bakery based on the triumph of this bread. It is absolutely wonderful.
This is gorgeous! I didn’t bother to peel the pears and it worked beautifully. Mine only took 45 minutes to bake (and 45 seconds to eat) :)
Just made this with my three year old. He loved making it and we both are loving eating it!
I made this last night and loved it! It was actually very easy to make and mine also baked in about 45 minutes. I used about 1/4 cup less sugar and added some fresh ground cardamom.
I made this with half the sugar (to justify eating it for breakfast), and with browned butter. perfect!!
Love Smitten kitchen. This recipe looks really good and I want to try it out. Do the pears have to be grated or is it okay to chop them into small enough pieces? Will be doing your other awesome Raspberry-Blackberry buttermilk cake tonight – keeping my fingers crossed.
Deb, I made this bread last night and it was a hit with my co-workers this morning. Thanks so much – I intend to try more of your recipes.
On the recipe, I made a single loaf and so I halved all the ingredients in the recipe and baked it in a 9×5 in loaf pan and found that it was done perfectly after 40 min (the 2/3 rule).
Thanks again Deb – you are awesome.
I made this tonight at it tastes wonderful. However, my batter ended up light brown (instead of whitish like in the picture) and the inside ended up light brown too, not whitish. The pears certainly did not brown before I put them in. Exactly what kind of flour did you use? Was it bleached?
I made this last night, and it made my apartment smell amazing! My only (slight) complaint is that the pear flavour is not as pronounced as I might have liked. I used the full 2 cups of grated pears, but my pears were slightly more ripe than the recipe called for (i.e. they were not that firm). Could this have resulted in the pear flavour being less pronounced?
Deb, I made this along with pear sorbet (which, by the way was the BOMB) for my knitting group and have had so many compliments from people and so many people asking me for the recipe! I, of course, gave you credit and referred them to Smitten Kitchen. I love your website! Thanks, as always, for all the great recipes! :) Man, I love Fall!!
p.s. I couldn’t find the grater attachment to my food processor, so just chopped them and it turned out DELICIOUS. :)
Made this last night…..very easy to throw together……added some lime juice to the pears to keep them from turning brown….mine were so ripe that it was almost a pear puree….had to substitute extra virgin olive oil for the vegetable oil…..made it very rich and flavorful…..the whole family loves it…..thanks.
I made this last night with “wild pears” that a friend gave us, and we just ate the first pieces for breakfast. It was really good, especially considering I cut back on the butter to half a stick and the sugar to only 3/4 cup – but I melted them together and they caramelised a bit, so the cake had strands of gooey sugary stuff throughout. Plus, I used one third APF and two thirds white whole wheat – at 430 calories for 1/6 of the recipe, (instead of 625), it was a far healthier breakfast than it would have been with all the sugar and butter – but if I was making this for a dinner party (or really any occasion that I would not be planning to eat multiple slices) I would definitely caramelize the whole amount of sugar.
Hi – I’m sorry if this is a repeat question – I skimmed the comments to see if you’d already answered this and didn’t see an answer, but, again, only skimmed. Question: did you double the recipe to make the bundt or is the bundt the equivalent of a 10″ tube pan? Thanks!
This recipe is for two loaves or one tube. A bundt holds a little more, or most do, I think… Commenters #85 and 97 baked it successfully in a bundt.
I made this the other day… I tinkered with it a bit though. I added a hint of orange zest and dried cranberries and cherries. It was a pleasing blend of smooth warm flavors of the pear and the brightness of the zest and fruit. The next day I tinker more and added a thin lemon glaze. So incredibly good! Over all I’d say this recipe w/ or w/o gratuitous alterations is a great way to make sure my jeans don’t get too baggy!!
Any thoughts on how this would freeze? I need to come up with some yummy stuff for a friend who will be on maternity leave and not having time to make things like pear bread! Thanks!
Made this in two 1-lb loaf pans last night. My friends and I really liked it (one loaf disappeared). It was not huge on pear flavour but delicious nonetheless. I would only caution that 9 x 5 inch loaf pans (as stated in the recipe), which make 1.5-lb loaves, would probably be a little too big for the quantity of batter I got out of these. Even with the smaller pans, I thought my loaves came out a little on the short side.
I halved the recipe and made a single loaf, with some dark chocolate chunks thrown in for fun (was inspired by your pear and bittersweet chocolate cake) – it was great! Just curious — is “handsomely browned” your own wording? It sounds hilariously 19th century :P
I have this in the oven right now, with cardamom instead of cinnamon for the Egyptian revolution. The recipe says to use two 9×5 pans, but I only had enough batter to fill one. I put a baking sheet underneath in case it overflows, but so far, no need. Was that a typo?
Yikes. I actually only made it in the tube pan, but tubes and bundts are almost always equal to two loaf pans. Then again, this cake didn’t really fill out my tube pan, so that should have clued me in. Looks like #95, #110 made it in two loaves but #164, like you, cautions that it will only fill about 1.5 pans. Let me know how it goes, and I can update the recipe accordingly. Thanks.
One 9×5 loaf pan turned out to be a perfect fit for mine. I needed about 20 extra minutes for baking for some reason. Eating it now — yum!
Do you really put over 400g of sugar – according to your conversion table – into this? Gee …
This is a gigantic cake, so yes, it has more than double the sugar of a smaller cake. I’ve been using more of a 400 equivalent for two cups these days and need to update the table.
Thanks for the info, Deb. For a European this notion of “updating” teh conversion “rate” seems really odd. Shouldn’t that be a hard ‘n’fast fact, not something to be decided indvidually?
Wow, and I just saw there’s another 2 cups confectioner’s sugar for the glaze. You really have a sweet tooth! I made the cake with 100g sugar – I’ll let you know how it went. Cheers.
OK, let’s see: I used all ingredients as stated, or rather with the conversions I worked out. I substituted 1 tsp cardamom for cinnamon, as was suggested before. I really love the taste, and I’m a little fed up with all the cinnamon christmas has brought as ususal. I used 2/3 wholemeal flour as I usually do, increasing the baking powder to 1 tsp as wholemeal rises less. And I only used 100g sugar as mentioned, that should be less than 1/2 cup, and no icing.
On its second day now the cake tastes fine, the crumb and crust are superb, but if I hadn’t put them in myself, I wouldn’t know it had pears in it, which of course is something of a let down. The walnuts and cardamom are there, but just the tiniest whiff of fruit – I used rosé Williams, if that matters. I find it sweet enough, a friend who came over would have preferred a trifle more sugar though. But that would bring me to maybe 3/4 cup (150g) and what with the original asking for 2 cups (=450g) I still think there must be a mistake in my conversions. The total amount of dough sits a little uncomfortable tween one 9×5″ loaf pan (or bundt, mine is on the small side) and two loaf pans or one tube. I used the tube, but the dough only filled it about half way up befor baking, and about 2/3s after.
I will try again, cutting quantities down by a third to nicely fill the bundt, and maybe going for some other fruit.
The reason that weights are not hard and fast is that the way you pack a measuring cup with flour, for example, will significantly affect its weight. Some recipe writers “scoop and sweep” others “spoon then sweep” others “fluff, scoop and sweep” and no, I am not making this up. The resulting weights can be anywhere from 4 ounces (113 grams) to 6 1/2 (184).
The glaze is a suggestion of the original recipe writer for those who like glazed cakes. The one I made was not, as I don’t prefer them.
Did you use softened butter or veggie oil when making this recipe? Thanks.
I totally do not remember. Vegetable oil will keep it slightly more moist; butter gives better flavor. You could also use a mix of the two.
Your Jacked Up Banana Bread was to be my farewell to bananas, and it was awesome. I now seek a lower fat replacement, and I love your idea of pears. I’d love to see “jacked up pear bread”.
I just popped this in the oven! I did a bunch of substitutions based on what I have on hand: I halved the recipe, used 1 cup all p. flour and 1/2 cup semolina, 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar, left out the cinnamon, and instead of using oil or butter, I made your pear sauce and used that instead… and also instead of grating the pears, I chopped them really finely. So now I have to wait and see how it will turn out… I hope none of those substitutions was too fatal!
This is cake is delicious! I made it with organic spelt flour and with organic pears. The result is amazing. I think is one of the best cakes I’ve ever tried. Delicate, simple, with lots of flavours coming out of it straight to your nose and your mouth. My daughter simply adores it. Thank you for the great recipe!
It’s Nancie McDermott. :) Also, you should make Gigi’s caramel cake from Southern Cakes… she’s my grandmother who would make it for every special occasion and it’s yummy!
i’ve had this bookmarked forever, and finally made it today and i just have to say THANK YOU. i am spending the month with my brand new in-laws (only been married 4 months), and i tell you, it’s been a tense time. but. i made this cake for this afternoon’s kaffee und kuchen (we’re in germany :) and they declared it “the best cake they’ve ever eaten.” seriously, i think i can thank this recipe for saving our relationship. hahhahha! thank you thank you thank you! :)
I made this today without peeling the pears since they are organic. The peels add a little color to the bread and don’t interfere with the texture ( I used red and green pears). I also used ginger and cardamom instead of cinnamon because I like them both with pears. it is good!
wow – made this today and it’s already fantastic! can’t wait to discover how it gets better with age!
Made this today because my CSA delivered a ton of pears! I added walnuts, 1/8 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, substituted whole wheat flour, coconut oil, used only 1 cup of sucanat, used 4 small Bartlett pears. It fit perfectly into 4 mini loaf pans. Baked for 60 minutes. It was a little dry– maybe I used too much whole wheat flour, not enough grated pears or baked it too long? Probably could have used a bit more sugar. Overall, yummy bread. Can’t wait to try it the next few days to see how the flavor changes.
I browned the butter without even being told! Can’t wait to try this; it’s on the cooling rack now, taunting me. What a lovely way to spend Black Friday! I haven’t set foot in a store all day :)
These were delicious, my boys devoured them!!!
Love this cake! I get requests to make it. Really outstanding, not too sweet, not too dense. Excellent recipe. I drain out the “pear juice” a little bit after grating. The beauty of this cake is each time it turns out a little differently but always tastes good.
Love the blog, the pictures are beautiful. This was the first recipe I have tried from the site. I had some very ripe pears, dripping with juice and was very excited to try the bread. The bread looked great and was really nice and moist, but I have to say,when I took a bite of this bread, it was too sweet for me. All I could taste was the sugar, all two cups of it, with a hint of pear. I would definitely make this again, with some adjustments (I’m still learning!) thanks for posting!
Indeed, Allison. I always cut sugar down about 30% in her dessert recipe.
I’m just eating this Yummy pear bread. I LOVE her recipe, photos and writings ^?^
Thank you, deb!
I tried this recipe last week and it turned out wonderfully. I made the bread in two loaf pans and it turned out not too sweet, just perfect dusted with the powdered sugar. Thanks for the recipe!
I tried these last night and they turned out really well. I made a bunch of changes – halved the recipe so it made 1 loaf, reduced oil very slightly to 1/3 cup instead of 3/8, reduced sugar by about 1/6 cup, used 2 small-medium sized eggs, swapped almonds for the walnuts, replaced 1/2 cup AP flour with bread flour and just grated in 1 pear. Also, I only baked it for about 35 minutes before it was done. They turned out nice and moist, with a warm cinnamon taste that wasn’t overwhelming. I have a sweet tooth but found the reduced sugar level perfect. The pear taste wasn’t strong but there was a nice grainy texture in parts from the pear. All round, a good breakfast bread that was quite easy to mix up.
I got given most of a 5 kg box of pears by a neighbour, and ended up making this twice in the last two weeks. I made it in a bundt (don’t have a tube pan), used half butter and half rice bran oil to make up the 3/4 cup, which worked well, giving flavour and moisture. Also, I added about a tsp of ground ginger and 1/4 tsp of ground cardamon. I left out the walnuts. Next time, when I have buttermilk I will make the glaze. Love this breadcake! Thanks so much for another great recipe! :D
didn’t make any changes to recipe, super yum, doesn’t even need any sugar or icing on top. perfect bread recipe for me since i hate bananas.
Holy.. holy holy holy crap. This is downright wonderful. So overjoyed I discovered this site.
This pear bread is delicious! I noticed that in the comments many people said that they found it a bit sweet, so I cut the sugar about in half using just over a cup. Also, halfway through baking I realized that I had forgotten to put the vanilla in but it still turned out fine. Does adding vanilla change the flavor at all or is it more of a “function” like baking soda? (I am not even 11 years old yet so I don’t know these things yet)
Thanks for posting!
Halving the recipe to bake in a 9×5 loaf pan does leave the loaf a bit “short” in the pan, i.e. not rising as high as the pan’s sides. My pears were a bit too ripe to grate easily, so I just cored them and then scooped out the insides with a spoon, leaving the peel behind, and then mashed them in the wet mix with the back of a fork, like you might do for making baby food.
The result smelled fantastic, but 70 minutes is definitely too long for a single loaf (if I make this again, I’ll try the 40 minutes recommended above — should have read comments first). Like many other commenters, I didn’t get much pear flavor, even on the bites with visible nuggets of pear. I’ll put more than a cup of pear into any future attempts.
Another winner Deb.
BTW your cookbook is great.
I laughed. I cried. I drooled. I cooked.
Do you think Asian/Korean pears would work well in this recipe?
I haven’t tried it with them but if you’ve replaced these pears in other baking recipes with them successfully, I’d go for it.
Love this. I halved the sugar, only used one cube of butter. Also didn’t have walnuts so used sliced almonds and it was yummy!
I have made these twice now and they are awesome! I halfed the recipe and made them into muffins. My 2 1/2 year old has gotten accustomed to having “cakies” for breakfast (muffins) and this is a great addition to his breakfast options. Thanks for all your great recipes. Love this one!
A friend made this and I loved it so will make with her changes. She used 1 cup sugar and 3/4cup brown sugar. Also added 3 tbsp chopped candied ginger, which I love. It was delicious! I’m so glad she introduced me to your blog. Thank you.
I LOVE this recipe. I just made it last night and it turned out fantastic. It only made enough to fill one 9X5 loaf pan + a couple small ramekins. It turned out delicious- moist and rich. I can see serving this as breakfast (It would be so good with coffee), or as dessert, with some vanilla ice-cream.
I wanted to know how you keep your pears from browning. Once i started peeling them, they were turning brown within seconds. I squeezed a little lemon juice onto my pears (the only thing I added to the recipe), and I discovered that lemon juice and pears is a wonderful combination. It really brings out the flavor- I ended up adding the juice of one lemon to the cake. I’m not sure I can taste the lemon, but I would add it again- it’s a wonderful flavor with the pears.
Would the batter hold up well if I made it a day or so before being baked?
Tabby — I wouldn’t recommend it. The leavener would start activating and the pears will probably seep a lot of juices.
I make this recipe exactly as written using oil and Bartlett pears. We just love it. Thanks.
I had some pears that would just not ripen enough to eat as is. On googling some pear recipes, I saw my favourite recipe site has a pear bread recipe and I just had to make it!
So yesterday I baked this for my bible study tonight (cutting down a little of the sugar and upping the pear, because it was there). I also siphoned a bit of batter off into cupcake moulds for testers (and breakfast). Except for my loaf taking forEVER to bake, this was amaaaazing! This is totally my new favourite loaf. Thank you so much!
Oh my word this is so good! Here it is 11:30pm and we are eating it hot out of the oven with powdered sugar on top. I’m not a fan of pears, but I LOVE this! We had extremely ripe pears to use up and needed to find something to make with them. Happened across your blog and we are sure happy to find this recipe! We’ve decided it’s a keeper! We will be making it again. Thanks for sharing!
I’ve been canning a lot of pear nectar (pears from a neighbor’s tree) this year, and it seemed a huge waste to throw all the pulp away after I strain the juice. Lo and behold, your recipe! Since the pulp has had some juice removed, I used 3 cups of it instead of 2 cups of grated, raw pears. Also, the skins & everything were still on, so I whirred it around in my blender for a nice, smooth puree before adding.
Waiting on it in the oven now, but the batter was delish! Added chocolate chunks, since it’s my birthday. :) Thanks for yet another great recipe! (I made your iceberg wedges for dinner last night)!
Not impressed! Heavy, dry and tasteless! 60 to 70 minutes in my oven would be way too long for the cooking time.. cooked it for 55 minutes, which was still too long! Would I do it again , No!
I tried this last night, halved the quantities and added 3/4 cups of chocolate chips.
I used two small loaf pans and it baked quicker than I thought, took about 45 minutes.
Also I forgot the vanilla but it was fine, the cake is still great without it.
Totally random question, but why not. I’m interested in making an apple-cheddar quick bread. What do you think of subbing in apple for the pear in this one and adding some cheese? Shredded? Cubed? Any thoughts on amount of cheese and/or reducing the sugar maybe? Thanks!
I haven’t fiddled that much with apples and cheddar, so I can’t say for sure how much to add. But a small handful of coarsely shredded can’t be a bad place to start, so a couple ounces.
I’ve cut the sugar down little bit, and rather than grating the pear to the pulp, left some chunky bits and that was lovely.
Will this translate well to a single loaf pan? And maybe a couple of mini muffins. Let me know your thoughts if you don’t mind!
JC — Most ring cakes can be halved into single loaves, and I expect you’ll be fine here too. Not sure if you’ll also have a couple mini muffins unless you make the loaf shorter.
This is in the oven right now…my sister-in-law gave me a basket of pears she couldn’t use because ‘Rachel will know what to do with them’. I will give her the cake in return :). I wish I could smell it baking, but the smell of a pot of chili sauce on the stove has invaded every inch of my house. Not a bad thing.
OMG! I was sceptical about this recepie, as I was not a fan of pears, but recently received some from a friend, and they were starting to brown and don’t like throwing food away. I substituted half the oil for half cocont oil and the rest normal oil and instead of regular sugar used 2/3 cup coconut sugar and 1 cup icing sugar…. I made cup-cakes as it is easier for the little ones to eat…. I have taken them out of th even and tasted one, then two, now three…. This is incredibly delicious!!!! And I’m not a baker, thank you.. Yum yum yum
Made this for my family (I can’t eat gluten) they said it was amazing but a bit sweet. If you’re browning the butter, make sure to be careful pouring it into the eggs- you don’t want to scramble them.
We tried it with chocolate hazelnut spread, and also with black cherry jam (St. Dalfour brand), both were great.
I woke up to those perfect pears looking not so perfect. Thanks to your pear bread recipe (a little adapted to what I had in the house) I just enjoyed delicious muffins with my scrambled eggs. YUM!
I subbed coconut oil for the butter and mostly apples for pears. I was a little worried because the fruit was ripe and did more of a slurry than a shred, but the cake came out so moist and delicious. Great recipe!
I have made this recipe a few times and really like it, but sometimes it tastes like there is too much leavening. Has anyone had this issue?
I got a Harry and David’s gift of pears, that quite honestly were not the best for eating straight up, the skins were tough. Thanks to this recipe I didn’t waste them. I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flours to 2 cups all-purpose, reduced the cinnamon to 1 teaspoon based on other comments. I also reduced the sugar to 1 1/2 cups and used dark brown, but added 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. I reduced the vanilla to one teaspoon and added 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract as I like the combination with the pears. I ended up using 6 pears, as wanted to get rid do them. Instead of grating I did a rough chop, as grating seemed too labor intensive. I omitted the nuts. I baked it in a springform pan as couldn’t readily find the tube pan and had a bad experience last week with my bundt pan (don’t ask). I baked it for 70 minutes on convection. It came out fantastic! Debating inviting the sweet person that gave me the pears for Chanukah but don’t want to encourage a repeat of this gift next year.
This cake looks really spongy.
Had 3 close-to-rotting overripe pears in my fridge and decided to give this a go (had zero expectations). Naturally, given the state of the pears, the grating was a total mess (didn’t bother with peeling) but I did end up with a cup of pear puree/pulp, to which I added a squeeze of lemon juice. Since I only had a cup of pear, I could only make half the recipe (used one egg and a yolk). Aside from that, I reduced the sugar down by 2/3rds (i.e. 2/3 in my half recipe or 1 and 1/3 cups in a full recipe). I also substituted a bit of brown sugar for the white (next time I’ll do half and half). I also added an eighth teaspoon of ginger. Baked in loaf pans for about 35 mins. Unexpectedly good. As in, really, really good. (I have to say the ginger was an especially good addition). THANK YOU. I am a pear bread convert.
BTW, like Mindy above mentions, these were made from left over Harry and David pears… there were only so many pears we could eat straight up. Had I discovered the recipe before, I would have baked up load of pear loafs to give out to friends/neighbors as holiday treats! Was such a good use of those pears!
Just made this bread with some past-their-prime pears. I routinely use half the sugar called for in most muffins and quick breads, especially if they have fruit, and this one was fantastic with 1 cup of sugar! Didn’t change anything else.
I halved the recipe because I only had one pear. Not sure of the dimension of my loaf pan but I think it’s smaller than 9×5. There’s not a lot of batter so it doesn’t make a big loaf. I still baked for an hour though. Other alterations for the single loaf: substituted a third of the flour with whole wheat (so half cup whole wheat and one cup white); no cinnamon or nuts; used 2 medium eggs (instead of trying to use half of 3 eggs!). Only used less than 3/4 cup of turbinado sugar and it was plenty sweet. I loved the flavor and texture of this bread and look forward to making more in the future!
It’s pear season again and I have an abundance. I made this for the first time, just ate my first slice and I love this bread. A little tedious to grate pears since mine are so small (off my own tree) but the effort was worth it. I used pecans instead of walnuts but otherwise followed as written and it’s a keeper! I will be sharing this with family for a reunion this weekend. Thank you for always having wonderful recipes.
I was wondering how pecans would taste. I made this last night and didn’t use pecans but I thought about it – will definitely use next time!
My 5 yr old made this – great simple recipe for her!! – I reduced the sugar by half and if was plenty sweet for us.
Hi there — this looks decadent.
Not understanding serving size as the Yummly site shows it serves ‘4’ ? That would be ONE hefty portion size.
Not sure how Yummly works with the data from this site either…
We made it again. Brown sugar (50%), added pear chunks and pear halves on the bottom (all tinned), less vanilla, a tad more cinnamon. Accidentally used salted butter.
I made this last night with a bunch of very overripe pears from a friend’s pear tree. The pear didn’t grate so much as ooze through the grater, but the bread still turned out great! I bet it would be really good with cubes of candied ginger, too.
I used chopped candied ginger — awesome!
I clicked on your recipe from my google search because it said something about using zucchini or green tomatoes. Yet, I couldn’t find anything in the recipe?? Yes or no?
I made this today and commented to my husband that it tasted very similar to my Mum’s zucchini cake.
I think a straight swap to zucchini (2 cups) would work very well. I cannot comment on the green tomato issue.
I added 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, used 2/3 cup chopped pecans instead of 1 cup walnuts (because I couldn’t find my walnuts!) Also, I reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup to compensate for sugar in the ginger. It was delicious!!!
PS That’s 1/4 CHOPPED crystallized ginger…
Fabulous recipe!! I made it with 2 large Bartlett pears and 1/4 cup of chopped crystallized ginger instead of nuts. It came out absolutely fragrant and perfect. I cut off a piece, put some butter on it and….oh my!
Banana bread is generally disappointing to me and I think I have to come to grips with just not liking bananas! But pears on the other hand…..well, we have history.
Next time I think I will pull out my old friend, Food Processor. Grating pears is tedious. I wound up grating about 2/3 and then just grabbing my chef’s knife and dicing. Results were not hampered by my fear of grating a knuckle!
This is another very successful Smitten Kitchen recipe for my repertoire. I’m certain this one will be made over and over.
Thanks so much.
I grated the pear with the grater attachment on my food processor — it was a whiz (no pun intended!)
Made this. Loved every thing about it.
Great recipe! I halved the recipe, used spelt flour, and 1 egg, 3/8 cup melted coconut oil, and 1/2 c. cane sugar/1/2 c. coconut sugar. Next time I will try using 3/4 c. coconut sugar as today’s version is very sweet. Thank you!
I halved the recipe but didnt half the pears (I used 2 smaller eggs). It’s so insanely delicious! I dont usually like walnuts but they are so good here. Thanks for another great recipe!
I made this today with red sensation pears – it was delicious, thank you.
I made a few changes: I reduced to 1 cup of sugar and I replaced the cinnamon with 3 tsp gr. cardamon and 1 tsp Baharat (Arabic 7 Spice). I also very finely chopped half of the nuts.
I also just realised that I forgot the vanilla! oops
I made this with figs instead of pear and swapped half of the sugar for brown sugar, absolutely incredible. Highly recommend.
Made this with very ripe asian pears that were about to rot off of my tree, and substituted maple syrup for vanilla (I was out). Delicious!
This sounds great and I plan to try it for myself. I love any kind of fruit bread but I don’t make it often because there is so much sugar in it. I have been told that sugar gives the bread part of it’s texture as well as sweetness but I would be inclined to cut the sugar in half on this recipe. I have tried doing this before on other pastry recipes and have had good success. There is still plenty of sweetness for me and the texture does not seem to suffer.
I made this last night – had an excess of ripe pears on the cusp of going bad. Very easy recipe and very tasty! I subbed out 1/2 cup of AP flour for 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. I also cut out 1/2 cup of sugar. It was still very good and I will be making it again!
made this with four bosc pears, all whole wheat flour, and half of the sugar (light brown sugar). it took a full 70 min. i also avoided buttering the pan by using parchment paper.
Just perfect. I used half brown and half cane sugar, otherwise as wrote. The table spoon of cinnamon seemed like a lot, but it was delicious. Another great go-to recipe!
I wanted to make something wintery/spicy and this worked out beautifully, as your recipes always do!
I made the following changes:
– 1/2 cup of coconut oil instead of veg oil/ butter
– 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup coconut sugar
– scant 1 cup whole wheat, 1 cup almond, 1 cup all purpose
– added cardamom and clove
– 2 shredded pears and 2 shredded apples
– orange zest
(Included 1 cup toasted walnuts)
Took 40-50 minutes to bake 2 bread loaves
Lovely. Moist and homey and perfect. I added some ground nutmeg and substituted one teaspoon of almond extract for one of the teaspoons of vanilla. Wonderful aroma and flavors. I cooked this in a 10-inch tube pan and it was done after 50 minutes.
My kids age 2-8 absolutely LOVED this cake. Thank you
I am wondering if this recipe could be baked as muffins? Any advice on baking time and temperature? Thanks!
I haven’t made them as muffins but another commenter said: “10 big muffins, which took about 35 minutes to bake through and develop that nice crust. “
I have 6 pears left out of 36lbs. I’m going to make this bread! The other pears werte processed for jam and sauce
This is one scrumptious bread! I made a half recipe to use up two ripe and sweet but crisp (ugh!) pears. I made the following changes:
1 egg + 1 egg yolk (instead of 1.5 eggs)
Mixed spices instead of just cinnamon (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice)
Pecans instead of walnuts
A single 8.5×4.5 loaf took ~43 minutes to bake perfectly in my oven. Thanks for a great recipe, Deb!
This is a keeper – and Not only because it’s super easy for a kid to help make. I made it as muffins (24 standard Size) and it took 20 minutes for them to bake through. I lowered the sugar by about a third and added one extra pear and also pinches of cardamom and clove and allspice. So delicious.
Has anyone tried this with canned pears? Thoughts on adjusting the cooking time?
I just made this with home grown canned pears and replaced 1 cup of white flour with whole wheat. It took 60 minutes in our oven and turned out great!
I got a 20lb box of pears with my canning share this year. I stumbled across this recipe and decided to give it a try. Can’t speak for the bread yet since it’s baking, but the batter makes me believe this will replace banana bread for me. I don’t even know who I am anymore.
I just made this. I was very anxious because using soft butter, it never quite turned into a smoother batter, there were little flecks throughout, but it didn’t affect the final cake.
It turned out well, extremely moist and tasty, but between the walnuts and the cinnamon, I could barely taste the pears. If I make this again, I might cut back on both and try adding some pear chunks as well.
Made this for the first time this weekend. I cut the sugar in half and made two loaves. It was delicious and I had two people ask me for the recipe. I could barely stop myself from eating the entire thing in one day. So good with a cup of tea or coffee.
I love this recipe! I’ve made it several times now, usually halved, with pears, apples, and also various other combination of pear-like things. This last time, I copied the “sugar lid” trick from the latest banana bread recipe, and that worked great too! Depending on how sweet the fruit is, I’ve found I can reduce the sugar in the cake too. It’s such a treat to come home to this in the fridge, and sometimes I can convince myself it works for breakfast too!
Made this as a gift. The next day they called and asked for the recipe. They LOVED it. As others suggested I did add about 1/4 cup crystallized ginger.
This one, I’m always asked for the recipe. As another guessed, I added some crystallized ginger.
Delicious. Good change from a banana bread. No need for sifting confectioner’s sugar. It was sweet enough. I made 1/2 recipe with walnuts.
Can you use Asian pears?
I had some aging apple pears that needed to be used up and knew you wouldn’t let me down! Made this tonight with a few adjustments:
– 1.5 cups of sugar (I prefer desserts less sweet)
– cardamom (I prefer it to cinnamon)
– almonds (trying to use up my bag of pre-chopped almonds before they go stale)
– 1 tsp almond extract + 1 tsp vanilla extract since I used almonds (see above)
My hubby loved this warming fall dessert, which was great with a glass of milk. Happy holidays!