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Italian Sweet Bread with Caramelised Pears

Italian Sweet Bread with Caramelised Pears

Pears are a versatile ingredient that bring texture and richness to your baking. There are numerous varieties to choose from and they are delicious in sweet treats like this Italian Sweet Bread with Caramelised Pears.

Italian Sweet Bread with Caramelised Pears

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk, lukewarm
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil, plus extra for pan
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1½ cups peeled, cooked potato
  • 6 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 50g butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 5 firm beurre bosc pears, cores removed and sliced thinly
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp milk

Italian Sweet Bread with Caramelised Pears

  1. Dissolve the yeast in warm milk. Add the sugar, stir, then set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk eggs in an electric beater for 3-4 minutes, or until frothy. Add sugar. Continue to whisk for another 3-4 minutes. Whisk in the oil and orange zest.
  3. Press the cold potato through a sieve. Combine yeast mixture with potato purée. Add to egg mixture and whisk together.
  4. Add half of the flour to the mixture and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Switch to a dough hook and add the remaining flour.
  5. Mix for 5-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Alternatively, knead by hand. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Let the dough rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  6. Melt butter in a frying pan, and add brown sugar and cinnamon. Add pear slices and cook for 4-5 minutes or until pears are softened and sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool. Punch the dough down. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes or until double in size, then punch down dough again.
  7. Grease two loaf pans with a little oil. Divide dough in half. On a floured board, roll each half into a log. Cut each log into 8-10 pieces. Roll each piece into a small ball. 
  8. Stand a loaf pan on its end. Flatten a ball and place into the end of the loaf pan. Place a few pear slices on top of dough, then sandwich together with another flattened ball of dough. Repeat until all 8-10 pieces of dough are used with half of the pear slices. Repeat for other pan. Cover pans with a clean tea towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  9. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced). Whisk egg and milk together to make an eggwash. Brush loaves with eggwash. Bake in centre of oven for 45-50 minutes. Depending on your oven, you may wish to place a sheet of aluminium foil loosely over loaves to prevent them from over-browning. Cool on wire racks, then serve.

Smart Tip:

For best results, only use a floury potato, such as agria, red rascal, or iIam hardy, to make the bread, as these are low in moisture and sugar and high in starch.       

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