Yield: 2 loaves
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 55 min
One 6-ounce package dried tart cherries, snipped into smaller pieces
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk or pear nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
One 29-ounce can pear halves, drained and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts or almonds, toasted
SPICED CREAM CHEESE BUTTER:
Two 3-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8x4-inch or 9x5-inch loaf pans.
2. In a small bowl, toss together cherries and 1 tablespoon of the flour; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining flour, the baking powder, allspice and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, beat eggs with a fork; stir in sugar, oil, milk or pear nectar, and vanilla. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture; stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in cherry mixture, chopped pears and nuts.
5. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake smaller loaf pans for 60 to 65 minutes or larger pans for 55 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean.
6. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks. Wrap and store overnight before slicing. If desired, serve with Spiced Cream Cheese Butter.
7. Prepare Spiced Cream Cheese Butter: In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla and allspice. Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add powdered sugar; beat well.
*You may choose to make one loaf and use the remaining batter to make muffins.
Source: RecipeGirl.com (via Holiday Baking 2005)