Pear Bread with Ginger and Chamomile
November 5, 2020
I promised more pear recipes this fall, since I love working with the forgotten fruit, as I call them. Apples still have my heart through these months, but pears provide a different flavor and texture that can lead to some interesting treats. In this pear bread, I decided to use a ginger chamomile tea for a subtle herbal flavor. Plus, it features pears used two different ways to really highlight what makes this fruit amazing!
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Adding tea into recipes is an interesting way to make them stand out. Usually, the hints of flavor that are infused into your baked goods are not too strong. And that means your guests will constantly be trying to figure out your secret ingredient. Who doesn’t love a little intrigue?
What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for this pear bread with ginger and chamomile at your grocery store. You can also order online using Amazon Pantry, or try Amazon Fresh for grocery delivery.
- Fridge: Milk, Egg
- Pantry: Ginger chamomile tea, Brown sugar, Olive oil, White whole wheat flour, All-purpose flour, Baking soda
- Produce: Pears
- Spice Rack: Salt
- Equipment: Loaf pan, Mixing bowl, Pastry blender, Whisk, Silicone spatula
Let’s Make Ginger & Chamomile Pear Bread
One of the fun aspects of this bread is that it uses pears in two different ways. First, you will puree the fresh pears and use that as a base for the batter. Later on, you’ll dice the rest of the pears to add even more texture and fresh pear flavor.
When selecting pears, you want them to be ripe, but still somewhat firm. Since the pears will be mashed and chopped, it’s good for them to be right on that fine line. However, you can also use riper pears for the puree, and less-ripe ones for the chunks.
I suggest Bosc pears. They tend to be a bit sweeter while still quite firm, unlike Bartletts, which sweeten significantly as they ripen. Boscs will give you a bit more leeway when it comes to finding that perfect level of ripeness.
To get started with the recipe, first preheat the oven, and then steep some tea. I used an herbal ginger and chamomile, but if you can’t find that, you can use separate tea bags for each flavor, or use chamomile only and then just add some grated ginger later. Warm up the milk so it’s simmering but not scalded, and steep the tea for at least five minutes. A longer time will produce a stronger flavor.
Then you’ll have to decide about peeling your pears. I didn’t, and honestly, I rarely peel any fruit. I think the skins provide an extra level in the flavor dynamics, since they usually taste different than the flesh. Then chop a few of the pears into large chunks.
Start the batter by adding the pears to a large mixing bowl. Then use my absolute favorite kitchen tool, a pastry blender, to mash them into a nice puree. This can be pretty smooth and liquidy. Remember, we are adding pear chunks later, so this is really for flavor.
Once the puree is ready, add in the egg, sugar, and oil. At this point, you can switch to a large spoon or silicone spatula to continue stirring, incorporating everything together.
I sometimes like using olive oil in quick breads instead of butter. It creates a finer crumb, which makes for a super moist bread. The brown sugar also adds moisture, as well as sweetness, and the egg acts as a binder.
After it’s done steeping, squeeze all the excess liquid out of your tea bag, and then add the warm milk into the batter as well. Continue stirring until everything is combined.
Meanwhile, in a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. We are using a mix of all-purpose and white whole wheat flour in this. The white flour will help with texture, because of the higher gluten ratio. This helps the bread stay airy and fluffy.
The white whole wheat adds some extra nutritional value, since it’s a whole grain. Unlike standard whole wheat flour, however, it’s softer and lighter. This means your bread won’t be dense. Add in salt for flavor, and baking soda for rise as well.
Fold the combined dry ingredients into the wet. This is one of those cases where you don’t want to overmix. As long as you are using a folding motion, there isn’t much danger of that. Stir just until there are no visible dry pockets of flour, and it appears uniform.
Now it’s time to chop the pears. Again, you can peel these if you’d like, but I didn’t. Pears oxidize quickly, so I suggest waiting until this point to chop them. Half-inch diced pieces are perfect. Toss them in a bit of flour, so they stick to the rest of the batter a bit better. Otherwise, they might all sink to the bottom.
Once again, use that folding motion with your silicone spatula to mix the coated pear pieces into the batter. Work them in throughout all of it, until they are evenly distributed.
The pear chunks in the bread create little pockets of extra pear flavor. Plus, they add a nice visual component to the presentation. Each slice will be dotted with the diced pear pieces for a nice appearance when serving.
Grease a loaf pan, and then transfer the batter into it. Use your spatula to scrape out the bowl, and be sure not to miss any of this tasty sweet batter. Then use it to smooth out the top, creating a nice even spread in the pan.
If you’d like, you can dust the top with some cinnamon before baking. It adds just a little bit more flavor, and creates a darker contrasting crust. This is totally optional though. If you do add the cinnamon, run your spatula over the top of the bread to distribute it into that top layer of batter.
Place the bread in the oven, and bake it for about an hour. When it comes to quick breads, the top center is the part that is the last to be fully cooked through. If you remove your bread too early, you might see it collapse as it cools.
Sometimes a toothpick test can fail you here. I had a few come out clean when making this recipe, and the bread was not done. The best way to check is use a thermometer to test the internal temperature. It’s should be 190F about half and inch below the surface, right in the middle.
Once done, place the entire pan on a rack, and let it cool completely. The bread should remove easily once cool. But if it doesn’t, you may need to run a sharp knife around the outside. If any pear chunks were touching the pan while baking, the caramelized sugar may stick a bit.
Highlight a favorite fruit in this pear bread, which features pear puree and pieces, plus ginger chamomile tea!
How to Serve Pear Bread
Once the bread is fully cool throughout, slice it and serve. You can either warm up individual slices and serve with a pat of butter. Or my favorite way to enjoy it is at room temperature, with a generous layer of mascarpone cheese and a drizzle of honey.
It’s an excellent starter or side dish for brunch or breakfast. Try it alongside cannoli cream filled crepes. For a warm and cozy drink, pair it with warm pear cider. Or for something with more kick, try a pear, cinnamon, and rum cocktail.
This bread does not store well, especially once cut. It is best eaten within one day of baking. If you need to make it in advance, you can freeze it. Tightly wrap in foil and placing in a plastic bag in the freezer for up to three months.
Use Up Leftover Ingredients
- Pears are a feature ingredient in my kitchen this fall. Try using up your extras this season in pear tart bars with goat cheese crumble.
- This ginger and chamomile tea is one of my favorites to enjoy when I’m not feeling great. Keep some on hand for the winter!
- I love baking with olive oil, especially in quick breads like this or a butternut squash cornbread.
- White whole wheat flour is one of my favorite types of flour. It’s also featured in my brown butter banana bread for that rich, dark color.
Pear Bread with Ginger and Chamomile
- ¼ Cup Milk
- 1 Ginger and Chamomile Tea Bag
- 5 Medium Pears divided
- ¼ Cup Brown Sugar
- ½ Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Egg room temperature
- 1 Cup White Whole Wheat Flour
- ½ Cup + 1 Tbsp All Purpose Flour divided
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Salt
- Cinnamon, Butter, Mascarpone Cheese, or Honey optional
- Preheat the oven to 375°F, with a rack in the center. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
- Heat the milk in the microwave or on the stove until simmering, but not boiling. Add the tea, and let steep at least 5 minutes.
- Peel if desired, remove the seeds, and cut 3 of the pears into large chunks. Place them in a large bowl, and use a pastry blender to mash thoroughly. Add in the sugar, egg, and olive oil, stirring until combined. Then squeeze any excess tea from the bag into the milk and discard the tea bag. Add in the milk and mix until uniform.
- In a medium bowl, mix the flours, using ½ cup of the all purpose, baking soda, and salt until thoroughly combined. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet to create a uniform batter.
- Peel if desired, remove the seeds, and dice the remaining pears into ½-inch pieces. Toss with the 1 Tbsp of flour remaining until coated. Then fold the pears into the batter.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and smooth the top. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
- Bake 55-65 min until internal temperature is 190°F in the top-middle, cool completely before slicing. Serve warm with butter or room temperature with mascarpone and honey.
- Choosing Pears: You can use any type of US or European pear you'd like in this recipe. I used Bosc pears, which tend to be a bit crisper than Bartlett or Anjou varieties. They should be just ripe, and still firm on the outside.
- Choosing Tea: If you can't find a ginger-chamomile tea bag, you can use individual tea bags of each flavor. Or you can use chamomile and add 1 tsp dried grated ginger when mixing the flours. For a more intense flavor, use 2 tea bags, or let it steep for up to 10 minutes.
- Make ahead tip: This bread does not store well for more than a day or so, so make it the day of or before serving for best results. Quick breads freeze very well, either whole, halved, or sliced. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil, and place in a zip-top bag with as much air as possible squeezed out. Reheat by removing from the bag, and placing the foil-wrapped bread in a cold oven as it heats up to 350F then continue baking until warmed through, or thaw at room temperature for a few hours.