chai-spiced coconut pear bread
So… this is not what I intended to make.
You know how they say when life gives you persimmons, make chai-spiced coconut pear bread? Oh, they don’t? Well that’s what I heard the other day.
Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, I bought persimmons for the first time in my life. I don’t know why I’d never bought or tried persimmons before — they look so cute and delicious sitting there in the produce aisle, but my hands usually reach for the plums or the apricots or the apples because we’ve been friends for years and I know what they taste like and I like living in my regular fruit bubble.
ANYWAY, one day I decided to leave the bubble and I grabbed the last four persimmons left in their section, sitting snugly under the “Hachiya persimmons” sign (which, as I learned in my research, is the best type of persimmon used for baking, as opposed to the Fuyu), and paid a whopping $6 for them. But it was worth it, I said to myself, because I was going to use them in a quick bread: One with persimmons and ginger and bourbon (See? Worth it).
So one morning, I retrieved my beloved new persimmons from the fridge, flipped them over to remove their stickers and there it was, staring me in the face.
I bought the FUYU instead of the HACHIYA. (Man, if I had a nickel for every time I said that…)
I harumphed about it. I bah humbugged about it for a bit. I contemplated going back to the grocery store and suing them for false advertising (or just politely asking for a refund, either/or). But instead I cooled off over a glass of milk (because I’m five) and an episode of “Downton Abbey” (because British accents somehow remind me to act like a lady) and then decided to make chai-spiced coconut pear bread. And I lived happily ever after.
So now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the deliciousness we’ve got going on here. There’s chai tea-infused milk in here. There are fresh chunks of Anjou pear (which are so in season right now and so unbelievably yummy). There’s a scattering of toasted coconut. There’s a vanilla-cinnamon glaze. There’s also an overwhelming chance that this bread was meant to be made after all, so I’d like to thank my Hachiya persimmons for turning out to be Fuyus so that I could experience this miracle of miracles in bread form.
Of course, one of these days I’m going to buy the right kind of persimmons and make that other bread. Because, hello, bourbon. The end.
Chai-Spiced Coconut Pear Bread
Adapted from Zoe Bakes
Yields: 1 9-by-5-inch loaf
For the bread —
1 cup unsweetened coconut
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2/3 cup chai-infused milk (I steeped this tea in warm milk for a few minutes, then let the milk cool to room temperature; if you can’t find or don’t want to add the tea, just use regular milk)
2 ripe Anjou or Bosc pears, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
For the glaze —
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spread coconut in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring every few minutes, until lightly toasted, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together coconut, flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. In a separate large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, stirring until just combined. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, stirring until just combined and scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Fold in cubed pears.
Pour batter evenly into prepared baking pan. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and cool 30 minutes on a cooling rack.
Whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla and milk until a thick glaze forms. Spoon and spread glaze evenly over bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cool completely before slicing.