I don’t normally buy single-ingredient cookbooks (with an inventory of over 100, I’d be seriously jeopardizing my shelf space if I did), but years ago I found a small, beautiful pear cookbook on a remainder table. For $2, I figured if it had just a couple good recipes, it’d be worth the money. In fact, it has several good recipes, but this one is my favorite, a sweet-savory loaf that’s delicious with a smear of mascarpone or cream cheese.
2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 pound Bartlett, Comice or Anjou pears (about 2 medium), cored, peeled, and chopped
2 t chopped fresh rosemary
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 T lemon juice
6 T buttter
1/3 c plus 1 T sugar
2 large eggs
1 fresh rosemary sprig
Preheat the oven to 350, and butter and flour an 8″ loaf pan.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, then set aside.
Use a food processor or blender to puree the pears with the chopped rosemary, lemon zest and lemon juice.
Beat together the butter and 1/3 c sugar until creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time (don’t worry if it looks a bit curdled). Now add the flour and pear mixtures alternately to the butter mixture, mixing just until the flour is incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Dip the rosemary sprig in water, roll it in the remaining tablespoon of sugar, and place the sprig on top of the loaf. Continue baking for another 30-40 minutes, until the loaf is brown and springs back to the touch.
Let cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then unmold and cool completely before slicing.