I read a self help book a long time ago that suggested that when one is depressed or sad, to stick to a routine as much as possible. That’s what I’ve been doing. And so this morning was no different that any other Saturday morning. I made coffee, listened to the news on the radio, caught up with folks on social media, and decided on a recipe. And since I had several pears that were on the verge of being unusable, this recipe was one of the first that popped up on the google. Although it was for plums, I thought pears are a reasonable substitute.
In case you are not in the US, and not in my general circle of friends, co-workers, neighbors and acquaintances, the results of the 2016 Presidential election has me bummed out in a major way. I did not anticipate having such an extended reaction to it. And unlike past elections, I feel like we as a country have lost our way, with long lasting consequences to our decision to elect the loud, narcissistic circus peanut. So that’s what’s causing the sadness and depression I’m referring.
That’s not to say that I can’t still be experiencing life’s little joys and rewards. After working for almost 10 years at the same job, Ben has found a better job at a restaurant downtown! They will pay him better, they have better benefits, and they don’t even mind that he will be taking off 10 days after the holidays, since we had already planned to visit his folks in Mexico. He is so psyched and eager to start his new job! They will even give him a uniform! I’ve been happier thinking about his happiness, although he too is bummed about the whole Trump thing.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy this. I’ve made this kind of quick bread before. One of the things I like about this recipe is that one way to serve it is to toast it and slather some butter on it like a slice of bread. Cardamom is my favorite, and also feel like I need to use it up, or it just gets stale and loses it’s potency if left in the cupboard, so that’s why this is something with cardamom. Hope you are doing well.
Cardamom Lemon Pear Loaf (adapted from In the Sweet Kitchen’s Plum and Cardamom Sweet Bread) makes one 9 x 5 inch loaf
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla
zest and juice of one medium lemon
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons ground cardamom
3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
2 and 1/2 cups pears, peeled , cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
demerara or turbinado sugar, optional, for sprinkling before baking, to give a slight crisp crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare baking loaf pan (9-inch by 5-inch) by greasing bottom and sides, then lining with parchment paper with overlap on two sides, so that you can easily remove from pan. Butter and flour sides and bottom again. Set aside.
When measuring flour, reserve two Tablespoons for dusting pears right before adding to batter to keep them from sinking. Set aside.
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cardamom into a bowl and stir with a whisk several times to mix. Set aside.
Peel, core, and cube the pears into a bowl and add the juice of a lemon and carefully mix to keep pears from browning. Cover with plastic and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugars, in a medium bowl by using an electric hand held beater, until flight and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add vanilla, and mix again until incorporated. Add the zest and beat until incorporated.
Add the flour mixture and the sour cream in parts, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Use a rubber spatula rather than a mixer, to fold flour mixture, so that you don’t end up mixing it too much, which can make your loaf hard and heavy from overdeveloped gluten. Add the pears last, again folding with a rubber spatula.
Pour into the prepared (9-inch by 5-inch) loaf pan and bake on center rack in oven preheated to 350 degrees F. Bake until toothpick stuck into center comes out clean, about an hour and 20 minutes. Ovens vary and sour cream varies. I used a Mexican sour cream that was thicker, so it probably was done earlier. Loaf will be risen in middle, which may be cracked also. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes on wire rack before removing from pan, by lifting from the two sides of overhanging parchment liner paper. Let cool for about 20 minutes before enjoying. Can be kept at room temperature for a few days, or several days, tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.