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.