Spiced Pear Tea Bread

Saturday 30 September 2017

Todd picked all of our pears last weekend and I have been rushing to try to get them all used up.  I did give a bag of them away to a friend, so that was good.  We have one pear tree, a Conference Pear Tree and it always bears a lot of fruit (Its self-propagating)

Conference pears are a European variety of pear that are good for eating, but are also very good for cooking with because they hold their shape well. They are not too sweet, and can seem somewhat hard when it comes to eating them out of hand.  I don't mind that, but Todd likes his pears to be soft.

Today I used some of them to make a delicious tea bread.  Now by tea bread I don't mean a bread that is made with tea.  I mean a bread that is meant to be enjoyed with a cup of tea, or that you might see served at a "Tea."

They are served cut into thin slices and buttered or not, as you prefer.  My boss's husband down South, loved my Banana bread and often wanted it toasted and buttered for breakfast.  Simply put, tea breads make good eating no matter when and no matter how.

This one is stogged full of grated pear, which helps to keep it moist.  In fact there is no other liquid required in the recipe with the exception of some oil and some egg.

  It also uses a mix of plain and whole wheat flours.  I have also used toasted cobnuts, which is a very autumnal and historic nut here in the UK, but you can use Hazelnuts which will also work fine.

* SpicedPear Tea Bread*
Makes one 9 X 5 inch loaf
Serving 12

This a real autumnal treat!  Moist and spicy! 

40g cobnuts (1/3 cup) (can use hazelnuts)
210g plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
70g whole wheat flour (1/2 cup)
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 large firm pears, peeled and coarsely grated (1 cup)
145g granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
3 TBS vegetable oil
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large free range egg, lightly beaten
1 large free range egg white, lightly beaten 

Preheat the oven to 1808C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Spray a 9 X 5 inch non-stick loaf tin really well with cooking spray.  Set aside. 

Spread the cobnuts (hazelnuts) in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Toast for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.  Invert the toasted nuts onto a clean tea towel.  Roll up and rub the tea towel vigorously to remove the skins.  Chop the nuts finely, but not too finely.  You want small bits, but not powder. 

Whisk together both flours, the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, chopped nuts and salt in  large bowl. 

Whisk together the pears, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, egg and egg white.  Add all at once to the dry mixture and fold together until just moistened.  Spoon into the prepared loaf tin. 

Bake for 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly touched.  Let sit in the loaf tin on a wire rack for ten minutes.  Remove from the tin and cool completely.  Store in an airtight container or tightly wrapped.

Tea breads are lovely breads, falling within the Quick Bread category, meaning there is no yeast used in their leavening.  There is no proofing or rising required prior to baking them.  They are usually very quick, easy and always delicious.  At least I think they are! 

 All about Cobnuts

Nuts are an ancient, natural and nutritious food which have been grown in Britain since time immemorial. During the Tudor period their cultivation on a properly managed basis was evident and formed the foundation upon which the Victorians planted a large number of cob nut orchards, called plats, resulting in some 7000 acres being grown by the turn of the century.

The predominant nut grown was the Kentish cobnut, a type of cultivated hazelnut, bred in 1830 by a Mr Lambert of Goudhurst in Kent. The Kentish cobnut is a larger nut than a hazelnut and has a different and distinctive flavour of its own.

 A Kentish cobnut is a type of hazelnut, just as a Bramley is a type of apple. Unlike most other nuts, cobnuts are sold fresh, not partially dried. They are usually in season from the end of August through to October, but stored nuts may be available from selected outlets through to Christmas.

In the photo above you can see a fresh cobnut on the left and a older seasoned/dried cobnut on the right. Each has a very distinct texture and flavour.  The fresh green ones are very crunchy and have an almost vegetable-like, fresh flavour, which makes them great for using in things like salads. You can also roast them.

At the beginning of the season the husks are green and the kernels particularly juicy. Nuts harvested later on are ripe, have brown shells and husks, and the full flavour has developed. If you would like to know more about them or buy some you can find out more at Potash Farm.

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