“Joanie Stansbury — friend, mentor and all-around great person — gave me this recipe,” writes Rebecca Rather in her first cookbook, “The Pastry Queen” (Ten Speed Press, $32.95). “She used to own Blair House, a beautiful inn in Wimberly, Texas, just outside of Austin. I’d periodically go there to help her teach cooking classes, a regular offering for her guests. For me, it was a great escape and a great learning experience. She is one of the most knowledgeable chefs I know.
“This is a rich, dense bread with a deliciously pronounced ginger flavor. Make sure it is completely cool before cutting or it will crumble.”
Fresh Ginger-Pear Quick Bread
2 large ripe pears
3 tablespoons peeled fresh ginger, minced
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
Zest of 1 orange, preferably organic
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking poweder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, light beaten
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with butter, then sprinkle it with flour. Turn the loaf pan upside down an tap out the excess flour.
Peel, core and cut the pears into 1/4-inch cubes. Stir the pears and ginger together in a medium bowl.
Pour the buttermilk into a measuring cup; stir in the vanilla and all the zest.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking bowler, baking soda and salt.
Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl on medium-high speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 20 seconds between each addition. Add the flour mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beating on low speed just until boned after each addition. Fold in the ginger-pear mixture.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake about 55 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan for 15 minutes. Inert the bread onto a baking rack and immediately set it up right on a serving plate. Cool the bread completely before slicing or covering it tightly with plastic wrap for storage. The bread will keep up to 3 days at room temperature, or up to 3 weeks if frozen. Thaw the bread completely at room temperature and reheat it slowly in a 300 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
Makes 1 loaf.
From “The Pastry Queen” by Rebecca Rather with Alison Oresman