Hello good people! I am once again here to post my latest creation for your viewing and baking (if you so desire) pleasure. This one comes after some inspiration from The Minimalist Baker , the insistence from my dietitian that I incorporate more pears into my diet, especially now they are in season here in Australia and the motivation of a dear friend who gave me the kick up the backside I needed, when I needed it the most, to get back in the kitchen and do what I love. A friend who I will be also be collaborating with in the coming months to bring you a range of seasonal and healthy recipes for all the family. More about that later though …
Back to pears. I will admit that I don’t readily reach for them in my fruit bowl. They are usually either under or over ripe and I bypass them for a banana or an apple. I do however, love them in a salad and will watch them like a hawk for just the right ripeness to chop them in with some pumpkin and feta and lots of green leafy stuff, to make this signature dish.
Anyway, since this whole IBS diagnosis and subsequent discovery that I also have a range of food chemical sensitivities (SIGH), I am having to introduce more pears, as they are easy on the tummy and give that sweet fix you crave when sugar is off the menu (SOB). So, me being me, I decided to find ways to use them that also keep me in the manner to which I have become accustomed, with baked treats on hand the whole family can enjoy!
Life in the Fresh Home Cook household has been a little topsy-turvy since Christmas. We are regrouping after the whole, I don’t have a job fiasco, and looking at ways to make things work again. I struggle managing big changes, it takes me time to process what is happening and de-catastrophise it, but I am getting there. Getting this recipe right has been a nice distraction and being in the kitchen again gives me space and time to think. For this I am grateful and am figuring out how to deal with everything, particularly now they have gone so, pardon the pun, pear-shaped. Stay tuned for updates, I know I will be!
The pears I had on hand for this batch of the recipe were a little under ripe. To soften them and bring out their gorgeous sweetness, I peeled, sliced and placed them in a small saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water. By heating them gently on a medium setting, they gradually break down and soften, releasing lots of flavour also. This takes about 5 – 8 minutes.
A cool trick I have learned after many frustrating attempts to get cold, rock hard, coconut oil out of the jar is to use an apple corer! Slide and twist that baby in and the oil will come right up and out. I am not sure where I saw it being done, probably on the interwebs somewhere, but it definitely works a treat! FYI – this trick works well with ghee and butter too. You’re welcome! 🙂
My challenge with this recipe was to make it without sugar. Although I prefer and use unrefined sugar in much of my baking and feel there are benefits to that, it is still sugar and the body processes it as such. I am keen to cook with all kinds of products, so wanted to see how this would turn out using only the fruit and a touch of maple syrup to sweeten. The result was a super moist, not overly sweet, sweet bread that the whole family devoured in rather short order!
Cook this one slowly, as there are a lot of wet ingredients, the centre needs a little longer to cook through. If your oven is too high, the outside will crisp, but the centre will still be gooey batter.
Here’s how it goes;
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 - 2 ripe* pears, chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- ¼ - ½ cup maple syrup (depending on ripeness of bananas & pears)
- 3 generous teaspoons gluten free baking powder
- Good pinch sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup milk (I used lactose free. Use what you prefer, dairy, nut, coconut etc.)
- 1¼ cup nut meal (hazel, almond, macadamia - whichever you have / prefer)
- 1¼ cup gluten free flour blend**
- 1¼ cup quinoa flakes or gluten free rolled oats***
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (optional) - will help bread hold form.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (non fan forced).
- Line with baking paper or lightly grease a non-stick loaf pan
- Mash banana in a large bowl.
- Add the vanilla, egg, coconut oil, maple syrup baking powder, salt, cinnamon and milk and whisk vigorously to combine.
- Add nut meal, gluten free flour blend and quinoa and stir until just combined.
- Fold through the pear.
- Transfer batter to loaf pan and bake for 35 - 40 minutes.
- Bread is ready when it feels firm and appears crusty on top. A skewer will come out almost clean when inserted into the middle.
- Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling rack.
- Serve with butter and honey or jam or just as is.
** - you can use any store bought all purpose GF Flour Mix, I have used my own preferred home made blend of sorghum, potato starch, buckwheat flour and xanthan gum. Mix 1 cup each of sorghum and potato starch with ½ cup of buckwheat flour and 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum.
*** - Oats are naturally gluten free, however, most are packaged on equipment that processes gluten based products, so gluten contamination is likely. There are 'Certified' gluten free oats on the market - look out for those. Or if you are at all uncertain, quinoa flakes are a fabulous alternative and naturally gluten free.
So there you have it, my Gluten & Lactose Free Banana and Pear Bread. Naturally sweetened and oh-so-scrumptious when warmed through and served with a good dollop of butter. I hope you like it as much as we do.
Tell me, is there a fruit you will skip over in favour of something else?
When has your life gone pear shaped and how did you deal with it?
I love hearing from you, so feel free to drop me a line or two.
Cook! Eat! Enjoy!