When I went home last year, I made a simple loaf of my popular Italian bread for my family. Little did I know that my carb-crazed family would love it as much as they did. I must have made it about five times over the coarse of my break at home, and keep in mind, each batch of dough makes two loafs!
So it wasn't a huge surprise that for Christmas, my sister gifted me a loaf pan.
"I already have a loaf pan!" I protested.
"Not like this you don't!" She insisted.
Well, she was right about that.
I had been using a very old loaf pan that I think my mother probably had for years. The loaf pan my sister got me was beautiful and a springform! Not only that, but it has a border around the base--so that when you bake in it, you can simply remove the sides and serve as is. It's also great for thin batters; it won't leak.
I used that pan for all my bread-baking for the rest of my holiday. However, I couldn't fit it into my suitcase so I had to leave it behind in January. It wasn't until I recently drove to Atlanta and back, that I was able to bring it home. I'm so glad it's finally here with me!
I wanted to christen it with something very delicious. When I went perusing through Cate's Pinterest board to find out what to make for her birthday, I came across this black sesame pear loaf recipe and my interest was piqued.
I had my first taste of black sesame when I was in China in 2009. I love red bean sesame balls that you can find at dim sum or Chinese bakeries. Joe, however, prefers a black sesame filling. When we were in the town he was born in, he took me to a stall on the street and got me some black sesame balls. They. were. amazing. Black sesame is so nutty and unique, with a wonderful smell.
I've made black sesame macarons before, which are often a hit (don't remind Joe because occasionally he realizes that I haven't made it in months and gets very sad), but hadn't tried anything else. My jar of black sesame seeds had just been sitting on my pantry collecting dust.
I was also intrigued by the comments on this recipe. It seems a lot of people have had issues with it. Many people recommend cutting down the sugar, so I went ahead and did so. My nut grinder recently died on me, so I had to resort to using my food processor to grind my seeds. They never formed a paste so I ended up just throwing them in, as is. I also doubled the amount of pear but couldn't really taste them. Pears are rather light though, so I wasn't sure what to expect.
Overall, this was quite a delicious and light cake. It simply hit the spot with some tea or coffee, or as a light afternoon snack. Despite not really being able to taste the pear, it added some moisture and a different texture to the overall product. I especially loved the crusty top with coarse sugar, and we all loved the crunch of black sesame seeds.
So, what else should I make with my new loaf pan, guys!?
Black Sesame Pear Loaf
Makes one loaf
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs + 1/2 cup black sesame seeds
3/4 cup + 2 tbs sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 medium Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and cut into small cubes
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and grease a regular size loaf pan.
Whisk together the flour, the almond flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds in a bowl.
Grind the 1/2 cup of sesame seeds in a spice mill to form a thick paste.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until fluffy.
Add the sesame paste and beat till blended.
Add the egg and egg yolk.
On low, add in the flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk.
Toss the pear cubes with the remaining 2 tbs flour in a small bowl and fold into the batter.
Spoon into the pan and sprinkle the top with at least 2 tablespoons of coarse sugar.
Bake about 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into center.
Let cool completely before removing from pan.
Best served at room temperature with some tea!