This recipe was born out of various ingredients I happened to have in my house. I bought a bunch of pears from a local farmer’s market weeks ago that I needed to eat or use somehow. I also made some caramel for a recipe test that unfortunately didn’t work so there was leftover. There were some walnuts sitting on my counter, waiting to be made into something. It seemed like all these bits and pieces were screaming “Autumn!”. I put on my baking hat. My original plan was to make pear muffins, but as I saw the sad caramel leftover, “Why don’t I just put that in the middle of my muffins?”, I thought. The monologue in my head continued, “Make them into mini loaves, put some walnuts in it and top them with streusel. They’d look so cute!” And they turned out quite cute and surprisingly delicious. I present, Caramel Stuffed Walnut and Pear Loaves.
- 55 g / 1/4 cup sugar
- 25 g / 1 tbsp + 2 tsp whipping cream
- 40 g / 3 tbsp butter
- a pinch of salt
- 40 g / 3 tbsp butter, melted
- 40 g / 3 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
- 90 g / 3/4 cup cake flour
- 1/4 tsp fine salt
- 1/2 pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 135 g / 2/3 cup butter, softened
- 75 g / 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
- 3 eggs
- 40 g / 2 tbsp + 2 tsp milk
- 1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 170 g 1-1/3 cup cake flour
- 4 g / 1baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 200 g / 1 cup (packed) grated pear (about 2/3 of a large ripe firm pear)
- 50 g + 40 g / 1/3 cup + 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped (for batter and topping)
- In a small saucepan, cook sugar to dark amber colour, swirling pan to caramelize evenly - try not to stir it.
- Slowly add in whipping cream, be careful as the caramel is very hot and it will splatter slightly. Cook to 108C (or until it comes to a boil) and take off heat.
- Cool caramel for about 5 minutes, stir in butter and salt. Let cool until ready to use.
- Mix everything together in a small bowl, break up in to pea size pieces with your fingers. Set aside until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 350F / 180C. Prepare loaf pan, butter a 8 well mini loaf pan (each loaf about 3.7" x 2.4"), dust with flour, tap out extra.
- Sift together flour and baking powder.
- Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar with a paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add in eggs one by one, mix in milk and vanilla extract, scrape the bowl, and mix for another minute.
- The mixture will look separated, add the flour and mix on low speed and it will come together into a batter. Do not overmix.
- Using a silicone spatula, gently fold in the grated pears and toasted walnuts.
- Fill each well with about 2 tablespoons of batter, top with 1 tablespoon of caramel, and top off with the rest of the batter.
- Sprinkle the rest of the walnuts and the streusel on top.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the streusel and sides becomes a nice golden colour. It is ready with if the toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Cool for 15 minutes before unmoulding.
You can also bake the recipe into a large loaf such as in a 1 or 1.5 pound pan, and adjust the baking time accordingly.
These loaves taste amazing fresh – moist, tender, the caramel bakes like a jam center, and the streusel adds a wonderful crunchy texture. The mild spices pair great with the toasted walnuts. Grated pear is the secret ingredient to these moist loaves, though the flavour is not pronounced, it concentrates the next day. These keep quite well tightly wrapped, for about a day or two. My brother had it the next day – warmed and topped with ice-cream, and it turned into a decadent dessert! This is perfect with a cup of warm tea or coffee on a brisk fall afternoon!