Let’s get a few things out into the open.

Vacations are fun, but a lot of work. We returned from a week-long getaway to Hawaii over a week ago and I’m still recovering. I’m also in denial that it’s over.

In addition, I am currently in the middle of a massive overhaul of the blog which has proven difficult because, as it turns out, I am a perfectionist and a needy client. I think we’re about there and (crossing my fingers) I hope that I can unveil it all to you later this week.

And finally, I have saved the best for last, I’m pregnant. My husband and I are absolutely over-the-moon-excited for the upcoming birth of our first child this spring, but I’m afraid it has had an adverse affect on my baking. All I want to do is lay around in my sweat pants. I’ve never felt so lazy in all my life.

All of this is to try to excuse myself for taking so long to share this post with you and to apologize in advance for inevitable future delays. I’m hoping my energy will return soon because I have such a long list of fall and holiday recipes that I am dying to get to and share with you.

So thank you for your patience, big changes are happening ’round these parts!

Right before we left for Hawaii I was given a big box of over-ripe pears. They were bruised and browning, and past their prime for snacking or showcasing in a dessert, but I knew if I acted fast I could salvage some use for them. I sent a query off through Twitter and the overwhelming suggestion was to make pear butter.

Not only had I never made a fruit butter before, but I wasn’t really even sure what it was. So what is it? According to some internet research, a fruit butter falls somewhere between a jam and a sauce. It’s a fruit paste that’s lightly sweetened and spreadable like butter.

bread + butter

I decided to jazz up the pear butter with some brown sugar to help add a caramel flavor and color as the pears simmer and thicken. And just because, I threw in a vanilla bean too. The resulting flavor is incredible, I even thought longingly of it sitting in my fridge while we were in Hawaii. My first task when I got home was to find a vehicle worthy of it.

This almond bread more than fills that role. It could easily stand alone (as could the pear butter) with its heartiness and subtle sweetness. The almond flavor is present and delightful without being overwhelming. Lathered with some pear butter, it’s a small treat that is enjoyable at any time of day.

Almond Bread
Adapted from Taste of Home Cookbook
Makes one loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

Spread 1/2 cup of the sliced almonds on a sheet pan and toast in the oven until just starting to turn golden brown, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, sugar, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, combing the milk, melted butter, egg, and almond extract. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (batter will be thick). Fold in the toasted almonds.

Spread into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with remaining sliced almonds. Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Caramel Pear Butter
Adapted from Epicurious
Makes approximately 1 quart

7 pounds pears, cored and sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon salt

Put the sliced pears and lemon juice in a large saucepan or stock pot over medium high heat. Allow the pears to release their juices and come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until pears are soft, about 20 minutes.

Pass through a food mill, or blend in a food processor and pass through a fine mess strainer to remove the skins. Return pureed pears to the pot and add sugar, vanilla bean, and salt. Return to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to low and let simmer until thickened and reduced, and mixture is a golden brown color, stirring every few minutes to prevent bottom from burning. Remove vanilla bean pod.

Pour into prepared jars for canning, or into a plastic container. Pear butter will keep in the fridge for a few weeks, in the freezer for a few months, or preserved in jars for up to a year.

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24 Responses to Almond Bread with Caramel Pear Butter

  1. Sarah B. says:

    Perfect Annalise! Must be so so comforting, thanks for sharing these recipes! Hope all is well lady 🙂

  2. Sarah B. says:

    Also, I spoke too soon, PREGNANT! That's absolutely beautiful news!!!!! I'll say it again via a different platform over this web, you are a very very lucky women! Very happy for you and BIG CONGRATS!!! yayyy! 🙂

  3. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says:

    omg heavenly!

  4. Jennifurla says:

    yeah yeah, congratulations. I am due in April, with out second! Being lazy is the hard part…I feel such guilt over it!

  5. Phuoc'n Delicious says:

    Wow! Caramel pear buyer sounds heavenly. Now I'll definitely know what to do if I have over-ripe pears in the future

  6. Jennifer @ Raisin Questions says:

    I stumbled over here from Tastespotting, but I guess congratulations are in order! I hope you find all the recipes you need to suit your upcoming nine months of cravings. I have a feeling this caramel pear butter might be on my list of must-have-now if I'm ever on my way to having a little one… 🙂

  7. Cookie and Kate says:

    Beautiful photos! Your almond cake sounds and looks delicious.

  8. Kalyn says:

    Wow, so much exciting news. Congratulations on the pregnancy. I'm very happy for you.

  9. Alicia says:

    In the first trimester I always felt so exhausted and tired and took long naps that didn't help. Hopefully now that you're leaving that stage you will start to feel a little more energy. Love the pictures in this post! And it sounds delicious!

  10. Meg @ Sweet Twist says:

    All of it sounds wonderful especially the pear butter. YUM! Congratulations.

  11. mountain mama cooks says:

    FIrst off, congratulations and sending a big virtual hug. Laying around in sweats is perfectly acceptable and you should do as much of that as possible! Can't wait to see the new blog!!

  12. Maria says:

    SO SO SO happy for you guys! You will be a great mommy! Enjoy relaxing in sweats now because soon you will be in sweats, but not relaxing, only sleep deprived:) It is all worth it though! Love the bread and butter…and I can't wait to see the new look!

  13. Jessica Johns says:

    Oh my gosh, congratulations! You must be so excited!

    And, as usual, the bread and pear butter sound amazing. 🙂

  14. Becky at VintageMixer says:

    Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! Congratulations. I almost fell out of my seat at work! I'm so happy for you two. I can't wait to hear more. Let's chat soon.

  15. Becki's Whole Life says:

    Congratulations – how exciting. I always felt better after the first trimester. Both the bread and he pear butter sound wonderful. I love a good quick bread and almond is one of my favorite flavors. It would pair wonderfully with the pear flavor!

  16. Amanda :: Grace & Gusto says:

    This post is making my mouth water! That pear butter looks so smooth and delicious, I can't wait to give it a try. And congratulations!!!

  17. Amanda :: Grace & Gusto says:

    This post is making my mouth water! That pear butter looks so smooth and delicious, I can't wait to give it a try. And congratulations!!!

  18. Amanda :: Grace & Gusto says:

    This post is making my mouth water! That pear butter looks so smooth and delicious, I can't wait to give it a try. And congratulations!!!

  19. Amanda :: Grace & Gusto says:

    This post is making my mouth water! That pear butter looks so smooth and delicious, I can't wait to give it a try. And congratulations!!!

  20. iva | in my kitchen says:

    wow absolutely yummy! i love pears so muchhh!

  21. Cookin' Canuck says:

    Oh my goodness – and here I thought I was going to be commenting on this gorgeous bread. But you're pregnant and that is 100 times more exciting than my bread comment. Wow – congratulations, Annalise!

  22. shecooksandheeats says:

    such a cute idea! i love it 🙂

  23. reen says:

    Hi Anna!

    I’ve been following your blog for quite sometimes now. It’s very impress and help me a lot in learning baking.
    Yesterday I made your Almond Bread recipe but the taste came out quite weird! Bitter! And the smell of almond extract pretty strong on my bread. I followed exactly what you written here…the bread came out good but only the taste..
    Please help, did I miss something here or did I make something wrong???

    Thanks.. 🙂

    • Annalise says:

      Without being there with you while you made this bread, I’m sorry to say I don’t know what could have gone wrong. The bitter taste makes me think that too much baking powder was used. But again, I cannot say for sure. My bread definitely had an almond flavor, though it’s somewhat subtle. Next time I make the bread I’ll be sure to update the recipe here if I make any changes or adjustments to improve it.

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