Spiced Pear Spelt Ginger Loaf
After months of sweltering heat and intermittent rain, the weather is finally turning up. Fall (or autumn in British) is undoubtedly my favourite season. Even here in hong kong, the temperature is well within my 10 degrees of comfort range, occasionally with a cool dry breeze that makes my hair look deceivingly well-maintained.
The colourful vegetable stalls in my most-frequented Union Square Green Market in New York should now turn a shade of orange. The cheeses from local cheese mongers taste richer from the fatter winter milk, and they go terribly well with the jams and preserves sold right next door. Every year I learn about a new varietal of apple, or that year's most popular squash. A stroll down the market inevitably involves plenty of hard cider while picking up a bouquet of whatever catches my eye at the flower section. If there’s still room in my stomach, a pastry from Breads Bakery around the corner is always an option. That's just a few thing I love about fall on New York.
Back in Hong Kong, sweater weather probably won't arrive for another month, but fall baking in my kitchen is in full gear. This simple loaf is one you’ll want on your counter at all times, something sweetened with fruits and low in gluten, perfect as a midday snack without the slump. Plus, the smell of ginger and cinnamon is always a great way to make the waiting for fall easier.
Spiced Pear Spelt Ginger Loaf
Save the poaching liquid for your fall cocktails, or reduce it to make a syrup for your Sunday pancakes or waffles.
For the poached pear:
4 firm pears, peeled and cored, stems on
4 cups/1L apple cider
2 cups strong black tea
6 cardamom pods or 1 tsp ground cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
1 inch piece ginger, cut into pieces
Mix together all the ingredients of the poaching liquid in a pot. Arrange the pears so they fit snugly and the pears are fully submerged.
Cover with a parchment lid and bring to a boil. Bring the heat down and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the pears are tender but has some resistance. It will continue to cook in the oven later on so don’t overcook them or they will become mushy.
Remove pears with a slotted spoon and dry with paper towel.
175g whole grain spelt flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg, room temperature
2 tbsp greek yogurt
For the ginger cake:
38g dark brown soft sugar
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to about 350F/175C. Butter and line a 2-lb loaf tin. You can also use a narrower and longer baking tin if you want less pear sticking out of the cake.
Heat the molasses, honey, sugar, butter and water in a saucepan until completely melted. Do not allow to boil. Cool for 10-15 minutes.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then slowly whisk in the syrup mixture. Mix in the egg until combined, then the yogurt.
Arrange the pears in the lined loaf tin so they form a straight line along the center. This will create that perfect cross section when you cut into the cake.
Pour the batter around the pears, using a spatula to move them around evenly. Bake for around 50 minutes, or until the top springs back when gently poked.
Remove from the oven and cool for around 20 minutes, or sturdy enough to remove from the tin.
This cake is best after resting overnight to let the flavour develop.