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Banana Bread with Pears, Pistachios, and Cardamom

An exciting riff on banana bread using surprising ingredients like pears and pistachios.


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted; PLUS, more softened butter for greasing the pan
  • 3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 ripe comice pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup green pistachios


  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease your loaf pan (standard size) with the softened butter, making sure to get it into all of the crevices.
  • Add your melted butter to the mashed bananas in a large bowl. Whisk in the brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until no longer gritty. Whisk in the egg for 30 seconds. Gently whisk in the remaining dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. Fold in the pears and the pistachios.
  • Pour the batter into the greased loaf tin and bake for an hour, starting to test after 45 minutes by inserting a wooden skewer (or a piece of dry spaghetti) into the center of the loaf. If it comes out wet, keep cooking.
  • Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then carefully remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.