Banana Bread with Caramelized Pears

November 09, 2016 By:
30 minutes
1 hour, 10 minutes
2 loaves
It may seem weird – particularly considering that the Cavendish banana is the most consumed fruit in the United States – but, the banana is relatively a new arrival in the American diet. Introduced to Americans during the 1876 Centennial Exposition, the banana was a luxury food – costing as much as an hour’s wage – until improvement in shipping and the development of major plantations made the widespread distribution of bananas feasible. Banana bread is one of the recipes that developed to celebrate this unique fruit. A cakelike quick bread, the recipe became popular during the Great Depression as an efficient way of utilizing overripe and otherwise undesirable bananas – which were still too expensive to simply throw away. The banana bread has grown to become one of the most popular quick bread – not-kneaded bread leavened with chemicals, such as baking powder. This recipe adds caramelized pears and walnuts to the recipe to add complexity to the flavor and texture. This will create a banana bread more complicated than the average banana bread, but still as recognizable.


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  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour two 9”x5” loaf pans and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas into a puree with a fork.
  3. Add 2 cups white sugar, the cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the bananas. Mix well.
  4. Melt 2 sticks of the butter. Add the butter, buttermilk and eggs to the mixture and combine. Mix in the flour and combine only until flour is incorporated, avoiding over-mixing.
  5. In a small skillet, combine the remaining butter, white sugar and pears. Cook over medium heat until the mixture browns, stirring constantly. Let cool.
  6. Add the walnuts and cooked pears to the batter and fold in until combined.
  7. Divide the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour, 10 minutes until a toothpick installed two inches from the pan’s walls come out clean. Cool in pan for thirty minutes before removing and allowing to cool fully on a cooling rack.