Quick breads are one of my favorite things to make. Though I’m a regular baker, I don’t have the patience or time for things that are unduly complicated or time consuming. Quick breads are aptly named. Once you get the hang of them you can throw a batch in the oven in under 20 minutes and soon the sweet smell of home baked fabulousness will be wafting through your house. This recipe combines my love for all things almond and my recent discovery that Trader Joe’s is now making not only applesauce (in 2 or 3 variations) but pear sauce as well. The pear sauce is mildly sweet and can be substituted in most recipes that call for ripe bananas, or applesauce. Almond meal (available at grocers such as Whole Foods, and at Trader Joe’s in their flour section) gives this bread a light nutty flavor. Don’t add any extra almond meal or the bread will sink and won’t hold together.
Pear Almond Quick Bread (two loaves)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, or cubed margarine, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups ripe pears, smashed OR TJ’s Pear Sauce (just like applesauce but made from pears)
- 8-oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup almond meal
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two loaf pans.
In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together butter (or margarine) and sugar. Once it is creamy add the almond extract and the lemon juice. Add the eggs, one at a time. If you’re risk averse (I am, don’t even get me started) break your eggs into a separate bowl first before you add them to the batter. Every once in a while you’ll come upon a bad egg (ain’t it the truth?) and you don’t want to discover it AFTER you dump it into $6 bucks worth of butter and flour. Before is better.
With the stand mixer running add in the pears and the cream cheese. In a separate medium-sized bowl whisk together the salt, flour, almond meal, baking soda and baking powder. Once you have the dry ingredients blended add them to the rest of the batter in three additions. Pour the batter into the two loaf pans.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 50-55 minutes until a tester stuck in the middle of each loaf comes out clean. Cool in pans for ten minutes. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack or if your last name is Kaganoff or Stern, consume immediately.