Did you know the California Pear Advisory Board is the first California commodity board to sponsor Sacramento's Farm-to-Fork program? To celebrate, many area restaurants like Hawks, Broderick and Michelangelo's will be featuring an appetizer or a drink highlighting the pear during the months of September and October. For more info check out: Farm to Fork-Cal Pear
In my own household and at Mr.S's, we've been eating a lot of pears as well (like in that delicious Blue Heaven Pear Tart I posted about recently). Pears are quite nutritious- they're low in calories, high in fiber and contain no fat or sodium. Most recently, I purchased a bunch of Seckel pears grown by Stillwater Orchards in Courtland. Seckel pears are little itty-bitty pears that are so cute that you almost don't want to eat them. These petite, chubby pears are an olive green color with a maroonish blush. They don't change color when they become ripe, they just get soft around the stem. They also have a delicate sweetness which makes them perfect for pairing with cheese.
Currently, I've been enamored with Nancie McDermott's cookbook, "Southern Cakes," which I checked out from my local library. The book is filled with all kinds of irresistible sounding sweets and delectable treats. One recipe in particular caught my eye- Cornelia Walker Bailey's Pear Bread.
I used my Seckels in this recipe and it came out perfect. Since the recipe makes two loaves I shared with friends and I received several compliments on the end product. The pear bread is moist, sweet and nutty- the trinity of perfection for a quick bread. According to my buddy Dave, this bread also tastes quite good when you're drunk. ;-)
Cornelia Walker Bailey's Pear Bread
- 3 cups AP flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup ( 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups peeled and finely grated ripe but firm pears (Seckels, if you can find them)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 350° F. Lightly grease and flour two 9″x 5″loaf pans.
- Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of this mixture and combine it with nuts to coat. Stir the coated nuts back into the flour mixture.
- In a separate bowl, combine butter, eggs, sugar, grated pears, and vanilla. Mix it well then add the this mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until the flour disappears and the batter is evenly moistened.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until the bread is browned and firm on top. A knife inserted into the center should come out clean.
- Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then, remove from pan and place top side up on a plate or wire rack to cool completely.