Pear, Dark Chocolate, & Walnut Loaf


Life has finally settled down a bit after our fairly chaotic past month. My arm is still in a cast after breaking my wrist and will be for another few weeks.  I can now use the fingers on my casted arm however, so I am getting around the kitchen much easier. Although I will always miss my sweet pup of eight years who was put to sleep a couple of weeks ago, in his honor, I have brought a new puppy into the house named Zoe. She is a lively, lovable little thing, and though she will never replace Luca, she keeps me busy and I am thoroughly enjoying having a new puppy in the house. I had planned on taking this entire week off from the blog but it is just too hard to stay away sometimes, so here I am posting a new recipe despite my good intentions to remain “unplugged” this week. For most of the week, I spent lots of quality time with Zoe, and even managed to get all of my holiday decorations completed including decorating our fourteen foot Christmas tree. I also did a little baking with my new furry little friend underfoot, as the holidays are quickly approaching and in just a few weeks I’ll have a house full of hungry family members here.

Before the holidays begin, I always like to fill my freezer with casseroles, baked pasta dishes, quick loaves, and muffins, along with the dozens of holiday cookies I make every year so that when my family are here I can spend time with them and not be stuck in the kitchen all week. I already have a pumpkin loaf and some apple muffins in the freezer, and this week I added a couple of loaves that combined pears, dark chocolate, and walnuts. Pears and chocolate are a perfect combination, and I added walnuts for added texture. These loaves include olive oil and yogurt which helps to make them very moist, and I used half whole wheat pastry flour and half all-purpose flour to improve the nutritional value. I used fat-free Greek yogurt, but any plain whole milk yogurt will work fine. These loaves keep well if wrapped in foil (refrigerate for more than 2 days), and in fact, develop more flavor and become even moister after a day or so, and freeze beautifully.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2015

Pear, Dark Chocolate, & Walnut Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 6 Large Eggs At Room Temperature
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups Fat-free Greek Yogurt (Or Plain Whole Milk Yogurt)
  • 1 Cup Light Olive Oil
  • 3 Pears, Peeled, Cored, & Cut Into Small Dice
  • 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1 Cup Dark Chocolate Cut Into Small Pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray two 8×4 inch loaf pans with baking spray.
  2. In one bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until blended.
  4. Add the yogurt and oil, and whisk until mixed.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to stir just until no flour is visible.
  6. Stir in the pear, walnuts, and chocolate, reserving a spoonful of the pears and chocolate to use as a topping.
  7. Divide the batter into the prepared pans, then arrange the reserved pears and chocolate on top of the loaves.
  8. Bake for about 55 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of each pan.
  10. Turn the loaves out of the pans and continue to cool to room temperature.
  11. Slice and enjoy!

Adapted from Yogurt Cake With Pear And Dark Chocolate on Food52