There are times when you cruise around the Internet and stumble across a recipe so enticing you simply have to make it as soon as possible. This happens to me ALL the time. I wasn’t on the internet as such but rather reading Donna Hay’s latest mag on my iPad which I subscribe to. She had me at halva and then pears, and then pecans, and the whole thing sounded so damn delicious I had to get busy. This pear and halva crumble loaf with pecans is absolutely phenomenal and a great base recipe to add a few tweaks.
I took a perfectly awesome recipe and made a few minor changes to it. Not because I was trying to be clever, but I didn’t have any self-raising flour so I made my own. I used half whole wheat flour because it’s healthier and this kind of loaf can easily handle the extra wheat bits. I used a combination of honey and maple instead of straight maple because it’s so expensive here. I’m pretty much drowning in honey so this made more sense. I also used pecan flour for the topping because I’ve had in my freezer for ages and have been dying to use it .*Pecan nut flour is ground up pecan nuts like almond flour/meal.
I bought the halva in Israel last year whilst on an amazing food adventure. I think it’s pretty genius how it’s used here and doesn’t add too much sweetness either. Cocoa nibs are my latest obsession in baking and dessert making so any chance to throw those in the mix I’m keen. They add the most in credible depth and crunch without the sweetness. They are quite simply a textural gold mine.
I love Donna Hay magazine for many reasons but mainly because Australia and South Africa are in the same hemisphere so we share the same seasons. I love being inspired in the moment by produce that is readily available.
Go in haste and make this loaf cake. It’s not too sweet and has a lovely soft crumb. It could probably carry more fruit if you wanted, and I for one love my fruitcakes and loaves heavily laden. It’s all made by hand in one bowl making things super easy. The butter is browned first adding amazing flavour and making me wonder why I don’t do this all the time.
This loaf is perfect with a cup of tea and will last for a few days if you have the will power to let it.
* cooks notes ~ I found I needed to bake this loaf for a good 25 minutes longer than the original recipe and I loosely covered it with foil throughout the baking time to prevent over browning.
Recipe – makes 1 large loaf – adapted from Donna Hay Magazine April – May 2017 edition
- 100 gms butter (I always use salted even if the recipe says unsalted)
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup maple syrup (or 1/4 cup honey or maple if you prefer)
- 2 large free- range eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 150g halva, crumbled
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 Tbsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 – 3 large pears (about 500gms in total) peeled, cored and chopped
- ½ cup pecans finely chopped
- 40gms butter, melted
- ½ cup pecan / almond flour (or regular flour)
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar (I used Muscavado)
- 2 Tbsp cocoa nibs
- ¼ cup pecans (30g) chopped
Pre heat the oven to 160C (325 F and line a large loaf tin (21cm x 11cm) with baking paper.
Melt the butter in a small pot and cook for about 4 minutes until its starts to go brown. Pour this into a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
Add the honey, maple syrup, eggs, milk and vanilla to the bowl and whisk until well combined.
Add the flour, baking powder and crumbled halva and whisk until smooth.
Stir though the chopped pears and pecans and then empty the mixture into the lined loaf tin and spread it evenly with a spatula.
Make the crumble by mixing all of the crumble ingredients in a bowl and then spreading this over the surface of the loaf batter.
Bake the loaf for 1 hour and 35 – 45 minutes and until the cake is done. The loaf should be firm to the touch and when a knife is inserted in the middle and it comes out clean. If it is not done continue to bake until it is. Cover the top loosely with a piece of tin foil to prevent over browning if necessary.
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