Spiced Ginger and Honey Loaf With Whole Poached Pears and Almonds

This loaf is great for afternoon tea and is super moist and gingery. The whole pears are baked in with the loaf so you get a whole face of the pear with almost every slice, so its visually appealing and impressive. It also has a sticky and crunchy almond topping which is made using the syrup with the stem ginger comes in. 

Spiced Ginger and Honey Loaf With Whole Poached Pears and Almonds

For the pears:
3 small crisp, firm pears, peeled but whole, with the stem left on
400 mL red wine
½ cup sugar
2 cloves
2 small star anise
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 cinnamon stick

For the loaf batter:
60g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 balls of stem ginger, roughly copped
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2  tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/4 nutmeg, grated
1/2 cup milk
1/2 large egg, beaten (or one very small egg) 

70g Slithered almonds
1/3 cup of the syrup which the stem ginger comes in 

Poach the pears: In a medium saucepan, combine the pears, wine, sugar, cloves, star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon and poach for 30 minutes over low heat. Take the pears out of the liquid and set aside to cool. You can also reserve the wine which the pears poached in as it now is similar to mulled wine, although it is quite sweet. 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease a 22cm x 11cm loaf tin and line with baking paper.
In a saucepan, combine butter, golden syrup, honey and sugar, and heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined and mixture is hot. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped stem ginger. 

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour butter mixture into dry ingredients. Stir to combine then add milk and egg. The mixture will be quite runny.

Sit the pears in a row in the loaf tin and pour in the batter, evenly spacing it around the pears. Bake for 40 minutes then take it out of the oven and sprinkle over the slithered almonds. Drizzle over the reserved stem ginger syrup and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the loaf. Leave to cool slightly in the tins before turning out and serving warm with some unsweetened natural yogurt. 

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