With their elegant tapering necks and firm texture, whole Bosc pears baked into this rustic loaf elevate its look and taste.
Gingerbread Pear Loaves
Makes 2 (8½ x 4½-inch) loaves
- Poached Pears:
- 5 (12-ounce) bottles ginger beer*
- ⅔ cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 8 cardamom pods
- 6 firm Bosc pears, peeled
- ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1⅔ cups (367 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2¾ cups (344 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2½ teaspoons (5 grams) ground ginger*
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon (0.5 gram) ground cloves
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons (36 grams) ginger sugar*
- For poached pears: In large Dutch oven, combine ginger beer, sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until reduced by half, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, place pears. Pour syrup over pears. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 2 (8½x4½-inch) loaf pans with baking spray with flour.
- For cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in molasses and vanilla.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Stir in sour cream. Spread batter into prepared pans.
- Strain pear mixture, discarding excess liquid. Place 3 pears, stems up, in each prepared pan. (Gently place pears ¼ inch into batter so pears do not sink to bottom.) Sprinkle with ginger sugar.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Gently pull pears by stems to ensure they remain upright during remainder of baking time. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes more, loosely covering with foil halfway through bakin time to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
*We used Fever-Tree Ginger Beer and Le Sanctuaire Ground Ginger and La Canne Ginger Sugar. To make your own ginger sugar, mix 2 tablespoons (24 grams) turbinado sugar with 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground ginger.
I am going to make the pear gingerbread loaf. I don’t understand about placing the pears in the batter. It says:
“Gently place pears ¼ inch into batter so pears do not sink to bottom.”
Does that mean that during baking they sink down into the batter? This photo shows them actually inside the cake. Do they sink down as they cook? Please advise.
Hi Linda, thank you for reaching out. You will love this recipe! During baking, the pears do sink down in the batter as they cook so that they are actually inside the cake once it is done baking. We hope this helps, and please share how the recipe turns out with us! Let us know if you have any more questions.
What do you think about using seckel pears and baking these in jumbo muffin tins?
Hi! We’ve never tested this recipe in muffin tins or using Seckel pears, so we can’t say if it would work out well or not. The pear-to-batter ratio would be a bit different, since both the Seckel pears and the baking vessel are smaller than what the recipe calls for. Seckel pears are also a bit sweeter than Bosc, so the flavor would be sweeter overall. If you’d like to give it a try, we’d love to know how it goes! Our best guess would be to start checking your jumbo muffins after about 25-30 minutes of baking at the temperature mentioned above to be sure that they aren’t over-baking. We are intrigued by the idea, but unfortunately have no specific guidelines to share. Good luck and happy baking!
Is the baking time listed after adjusting the pairs additional time on top of the 10 minutes or should the timing of the bake be one hour 15 minutes total?
You bake for 10 minutes, and then adjust the pears. Then continue to bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. The total bake time should be about 1 hour and 25 minutes.
I made this last year and they came out perfect. Glad I was able to find the recipe again! Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
Yup. Me too(in a good way)
My friends and I loved this recipe! But we wouldn’t recommend discarding the liquid from soaking the pears! We used that liquid as a simple syrup to make some delicious cocktails. 1 to1 or 2 to 1 ratio of syrup to alcohol. Highly recommend!
It never calls for adding the pears to the poaching syrup. I’m assuming you do this at the beginning?
It calls for you to pour the poaching liquid over the pears and allow it to sit for 12 hours in step one. Hope this helps!
I would like to make this for a potluck that I am hosting. It would be wonderful if I could bake this the day before. Is the cake best eaten the day of or would it maybe even improve (because of the moisture of the pears) wrapping it up one day more?
thank you for reaching out! Although making it and eating it day of would be ideal, you can definitely wrap it up and store it in the refrigerator for a day before serving. Happy Baking!
So you don’t actually poach the pears before baking them into the cake? Won’t the pears be too hard to eat?
Thanks for reaching out! In step one, the pears are poached:
“In large Dutch oven, combine ginger beer, sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until reduced by half, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, place pears. Pour syrup over pears. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.” Happy baking!
What issue is this recipe in?
Thanks for reaching out! This recipe is from our Holiday 2016 special issue, which is unfortunately sold out.
I’m making this recipe right now, and the syrup doesn’t cover the pears….is this a problem? Can I turn the pears over to soak up the syrup during the 12 hours? The syrup tastes awesome!
Thanks for reaching out! If the syrup doesn’t cover the pears, that should not be an issue. You can rotate the pears during the time that they are soaking to get a more even distribution if you would like. Happy baking!
[…] 24. Gingerbread Pear Loaves […]
Ridiculously complicated. Instead, poach pears in water until knife firm/tender. Meanwhile, prepare a box of gingerbread or pumpkin quickbread and pour in pan—no more than 1/2 full. Trim a bit off bottom of pears to keep them stable and press into the batter. BAM, DONE!!! Bake and serve.