I don’t understand why pears aren’t more popular. Perhaps it’s because their “sweet spot” is a little less consistent than other fruits. A beautifully ripe pear is my favourite fruit. When baking this dish with pears, I recommend using ripe ones.
Time: 75 minutes
- 60g chopped hazelnuts
- 25g unsalted butter
- 3 sage stalks, leaves stripped
- 30g rolled oats
- 125g plain flour
- 100g wholemeal flour
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tablespoon dark malt powder
- 45g dark brown sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 x 150g ripe pears, peeled and cored, 2 grated and 1 sliced to decorate
- 125ml buttermilk or plain yoghurt
- 3/4 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spread the chopped hazelnuts on a baking tray and bake for 4 minutes or until lightly golden. Watch carefully as they will burn easily. Set aside to cool.
Lower the oven to 170ºC. Grease a 25cm x 10cm loaf tin with butter.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat together with the sage leaves. You don’t want to burn the butter here, just heat it until it starts to brown and the sage leaves turn a little crispy. Remove from the heat but keep in a warm place so that the butter remains liquid.
In a large bowl, mix together the cooled toasted hazelnuts with the remaining dry ingredients. Break the eggs into a separate bowl, add the grated pear, buttermilk, warm sage butter and vanilla extract and whisk together well. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet, stirring together well to form a heavy, wet dough halfway between a thick cake batter and a bread dough. Add a little more flour if the dough is looking a bit wet or a little extra buttermilk if too dry.
Spoon the dough into the prepared loaf tin and smooth the top of the dough with the back of a spoon. Arrange the pear slices on top and sprinkle over a few teaspoons of dark brown sugar. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
Serve warm or at room temperature, spread with butter and alongside coffee. This toasts beautifully the next day, like banana bread, and will keep for up to a week in a sealed bag in the refrigerator.
Recipe taken from Nordic Light by Simon Bajada
Nordic Light embraces the clean, fresh flavours of modern Scandinavian cuisine to provide a compelling new blueprint for the way we eat now. Drawing on the traditional ingredients and contemporary preparations of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Norway – as well as taking inspiration from further afield – Nordic Light is a celebration of nourishing, vegetable-centred food that is simple to prepare, sometimes surprising and, above all, truly satisfying.
You can buy Nordic Light at cooked.com.
Published by Hardie Grant Books.