This might be a little premature, as we still have Sukkot ahead of us; but, I have to admit, in spite of the stressful days before Yom Tov, there’s nothing like the day after Yom Tov is over to make you feel a little blue. After all, the intense preparation and cooking marathon is over, the guests are gone, the shared meals and conversations have ended. The extra leaves come out of the table, and the magical time just disappears as everyone goes back to their regularly scheduled programming. (Or maybe you’re just relieved…)
I’m sure the thought of making dinner isn’t overwhelming either, because you have a refrigerator full of leftovers. You want brisket? Got it. Roast chicken? Got it. Soup? What kind would you like? I have three different ones waiting to be ladled. Oh wait, don’t get too content because no one actually wants to see any of that stuff again, do they? Nope. They want something else. Something new. Of course they do. But after a three-day holiday weekend, there isn’t really anything new, is there? You’ve probably pulled out all the stops and used your best recipes and ideas. Well, I hope, like me, you have been paying attention, and took the time to debone all those chickens you used to make your soup. I have four bags of shredded chicken in my freezer as we speak, waiting to be put to good use. A chicken salad, chicken pot pie, or a shredded barbecue chicken sandwich might sound quick, easy and very good right about now, doesn’t it?
I do find that I am a little tired of apples, though. After trying to incorporate them into my meals and desserts in creative ways, I am ready to move on. But not too far. I thought pears would be an unexpected and nice change of pace. Pear bread sounds weird, but a nice, moist slice would be just the thing for a break-fast meal and a nice alternative to babka. (You are serving babka, aren’t you?)
This bread (OK, cake) freezes well, and would also make a nice side dish for Sukkot as well. So let’s beat the post-Yom Tov blues and keep the cooking and baking going!
Pear and Pecan Bread
(adapted from Monica Fresquez)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 scant cups sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup natural applesauce
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 4 fresh firm pears, peeled, cored and diced
- ¾ cup pecan halves or pieces (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5-inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar, oil, applesauce and vanilla until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition.
Add the flour mixture into the bowl with sugar/egg mixture, and stir just until moistened. Fold in the pears and spoon batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil if the top is browning too much before it is ready. Remove from oven and cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out loaves and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
By Rachel Berger