Pear & halva crumble loaf with pecans

Pear and halva crumble loaf with pecans, honey & maple - adapted from Donna Hay

This pear and halva crumble loaf with pecans, maple and honey is one of the most delicious loaf cakes I have ever made and is firmly in My Best Baking Recipes repertoire. The recipe which is adapted from Donna Hay has a delicious and not-too-sweet moist crumb and a lovely nutty texture. Made by hand in one bowl, this one is a keeper.

Pear and halva crumble loaf with pecans, honey & maple - adpated from Donna Hay

There are times when you cruise around the Internet and stumble across a recipe so enticing that 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.

Pear and halva crumble loaf with pecans, honey & maple

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 it 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 incredible depth and crunch without the sweetness. They are quite simply a textural gold mine.

Pear and halva crumble loaf with pecans, honey & maple - adapted from Donna Hay

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 at the moment by produce that is readily available.

Pear and halva crumble loaf with pecans, honey & maple - adapted from Donna Hay

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 with it.

It’s all made by hand in one bowl making things super easy. The butter is browned first adding amazing nutty 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 willpower 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.

Pear and halva crumble loaf with pecans, honey & maple - adapted from Donna Hay

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Recipe makes 1 large loaf – adapted from Donna Hay Magazine April – May 2017 edition

pear and halva crumble loaf with pecans, honey & maple

The most delicious pear and halva crumble loaf with pecans, honey & maple recipe.
Print Recipe
Pear and halva crumble loaf with pecans, honey & maple - adapted from Donna Hay
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:1 hour 30 minutes



  • 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
  • 150 g 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

Crumble topping

  • 40 gms salted butter melted
  • ½ cup pecan/almond flour or regular flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar I used muscovado
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa nibs
  • ¼ cup pecans 30g chopped
  • Sprinkle sea salt flakes such as Maldon


  • Preheat 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 it 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 through 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.
Servings: 1 loaf
Author: Sam Linsell


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  1. Looks good, but I never heard of halva? I’ll google it. Thanks

  2. I have no words for this. From start to finish – awesomeness. The most beautiful images and the halva seals the deal. So in luck, ’cause I have a bowl of pears waiting in the kitchen. Can I just double check the butter ; is it 10g or 100g? Thanks Sam.

  3. Thanks Di and oops -its 100gms and Ive updated the recipe. Thanks for picking that up xx

  4. HI Debbi – its a Middle Eastern confection made form sesme seeds and sugar and nuts. It can be found at speciality stores and deli’s although I have seen it at many Spar’s too.

  5. This looks so delicious Sam! Your photographs are absolutely exquisite!
    Very inspiring, can’t wait to make it.

  6. Thanks Robyn x

  7. Lizet Hartley says:

    Just too beautiful for words Sam. You took a double dose of your daily morning creative juice, obvs. 🙂

  8. Ha ha Lizet 🙂 *flops on couch in exhaustion*

  9. Thanks so much – Ive had that chair since I was a little girl and I was so pleased I could find a use for it in my styling.

  10. Oh My your photos are the best so artistic, what camera you using of course it
    s more then a camera here, also the recipe is a must make .
    Thank You so much your so inspiring.
    Chef Ernest

  11. Such a luxurious combination of ingredients it is hard to imagine the taste! Will have to buy Halva at our Turkish to go shop – it is difficult to find in NZ.

  12. Thnaks so much Erin. The bread is really delicious

  13. Thanks Ernesto. I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark 111 but for me, most of food photography is about shaping light and creating just the right amount.

  14. I love these photos Sam. They look like they’ve been taken in a little English cottage in the countryside. I imagine someone coming home from a hard days work outside and a slice of this offering some comfort and sustenance.

    Is this quite a firm cake? Can it withstand a thin spread of butter, or does it not need it? One of my favourite things is to take tea loaf, toast it lightly and spread it with a tiny bit of butter.

    This is a great recipe, I love Donna Hay too!

  15. Stunning photos – could you please tell me what the backdrop is?

  16. Thanks Debbie its an old metal kist

  17. What a beautiful loaf for autumn and pear season. Can’t wait to try this next fall!

  18. Lovely what can i substitute 4 halva

  19. I haven’t tested a substitute but i reckon 100gms of tahini and additional honey to make up the halva weight should work

  20. Thanks for the substitute. I am going to try with the replacement of Tahini as I have loads in the cupboard. Will report back!

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