Pear, Sage and Hazelnut Bread

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

Serves: 4


  • 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

Published by Hardie Grant Books.


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