Cardamom and ginger are the most common, but cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and even anise or fennel can be used. The chai itself is almost dessert-like, a far cry from the grassy, earthy green tea that I usually drink.*
When at home in Maryland, we don’t usually make chai with all of the spices (or sugar. Seriously, Indian chai has so.much.sugar.), so last weekend, missing the spicy-sweet combo of cardamom and ginger, I baked them into pear bread. Pears are a nice pairing (see what I did there?) for these warm spices, as they’re sweet and faintly floral, similar to many of the teas that comprise masala chai.
As we know, I’m a little bit into quick breads. They’re so easy and so versatile: indulgent breakfast or brunch material? Check. Something to snack on with afternoon tea? Check. A mildly sweet treat for the end of the day? Done and done. This one is studded with pieces of soft pear and pecans and is the subtle, slightly delicate cousin of our favorite banana bread. It’s perfect for those weekends when your only plans are lying about and staying warm.
*Remember when I gave up coffee for a few
months weeks? HA. Though I will say, I’m down to about a cup a day, which is nothing compared to the past …
Chai-Spiced Pear Bread
Adapted from Baking Bites
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (I used 6 whole cardamom pods and crushed them)
– 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 cup vegetable oil
– 1 large egg
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 3/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)
– 2 medium pears, peeled and cut into a small dice (about 1-1/2 cups)*
– 1/3 cup chopped pecans
*I used Anjou pears, but Bosc would work too. Bartletts might turn too mushy. I also cut my pears into a large dice, but I would recommend smaller-sized pear pieces in the bread.
1) Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
2) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3) Add the vegetable oil, egg, sugar and milk. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until everything is just incorporated and no streaks of flour remain, then fold in the pears and pecans.
4) Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing.