Oat, Pear, and Raspberry Loaf

October 2, 2010 at 9:05 pm 50 comments

Oat, Pear, and Raspberry Loaf 6

Last night, someone put up a video of my high school’s 2010-2011 homecoming assembly. For a moment I was brought back to senior year – I knew exactly how the new seniors felt sitting in those bleachers. It was so surreal to suddenly realize that high school was continuing without me. All the sophomores and juniors I knew are upperclassmen now, my old friends are scattered across the country, yet life goes on like normal back home.

Then I realized that Boston is home.

I still haven’t felt homesick yet. I just don’t have the time. My journalism homework is very hands-on, sending me into the city for interviews and investigations. I’m submitting short stories and articles to the literary magazines. I joined the photography club in a heartbeat, and I’m smitten. Every week we get a new assignment and arrive with a new photo to critique. It’s inspiring me to look at the world from new angles and keep a camera with me at all times.

And for 15 hours a week, I’m a reporter and writer in the news department of my school’s radio station. I’m learning so much (mostly from my mistakes) and absorbing as much as I can from the experienced vets. I’ve never read the paper as often, stayed so up-to-date with the news, or known so much about Massachusetts politics. I’ve also never heard my voice coming out the radio until now, but there’s a first for everything.

Oat, Pear, and Raspberry Loaf 1

After a long day, when I get off the T and see my dorm in the distance – I get the same feeling I used to get when I pulled into the driveway of my house. The comfort of knowing you’re safe and just seconds away from where you belong.

Every day, I have to remind myself that I’ve only been here a month. I feel like I’ve known my new friends for years – we have classes together, late night talks, we support each other without judgment and love each other like family. The city of Boston, too, already feels familiar. I’m spending enough time off campus that I can navigate parts of Boston based on street names and landmarks, without a map. In four weeks, I’ve fallen into a steady rhythm.

I didn’t know I could be so busy. Every Monday morning I drag myself to my 8 am class, clinging to sleep until I sit down in the cold classroom. I’ve written pages and pages of notes for my literature of the Americas class, the most difficult course I’m taking. And I adore my photography class, even though it’s in the furthest building from my dorm, even though I have to cross rainy streets and climb the stairs up because the elevators are full.

In the evenings my floor hangs out in the common room, passing around a bag of honey pretzels and a tub of Nutella. I stop at the cafe to wolf down a panini between classes. But best of all, every weekend I visit the nearest Trader Joe’s for soy milk, yogurt, crackers and veggie chips. Then there are the farmers markets – Copley on Tuesdays, Haymarket on Fridays – and it almost feels like Seattle again.

Oat, Pear, and Raspberry Loaf 4

[In an effort to make my front page load faster, I’m putting more of each post after the jump. Click through to read the rest of the post, and the recipe!]

Oat, Pear, and Raspberry Loaf 3

I’ve been visiting the local farmers markets since my first weekend here. Haymarket, especially, offers the cheapest produce around. Six plums for a dollar? A huge plastic bag of bright green grapes for two dollars? I circle around the market in search of the perfect buy, like a lost bird looking for home. Two weeks ago my roommate E- bought a mini fridge for us to share, and I lost any excuse not to stock up on fruits and veggies.

The markets were overflowing with August’s bounty during my first visit. I passed over papery zucchini blossoms, like half-folded origami cranes. I couldn’t resist a tiny jar of blackberry jam at one vendor, an almond pastry at another. I tried my first concord grape. Over the past few weeks I’ve watched the summer produce slowly transition into baskets of butternut squash, dusty beets, and sweet potatoes heavy as stones. And… pears.

For some reason, nothing feels more like autumn to me than a ripe pear. The trees in the Boston Common have begun to turn scarlet at the tips. Some afternoons I step outside to fat raindrops splattering in every direction – yesterday, it was so blustery, my umbrella broke. But nothing has made it feel more like October than those green farmers market pears, bent stems and brown freckles and all.

Oat, Pear, and Raspberry Loaf 2

I like to eat pears in just about every way imaginable. Raw, consumed in large, unashamed bites. Sliced and spread with a slathering of peanut butter, or poached in white wine. Maybe best of all? Diced and tossed with fresh raspberries, baked into a soft loaf with oats and a crunchy topping.

I’ve wanted to make this for ages and ages and ages, since I bought the cookbook second-hand three years ago. I thumbed through it and dog eared this recipe that very day, but didn’t bake it until this summer. I made it twice. The first time it came out all wrong, but I tried again with some significant tweaks, and found the perfect balance.

The loaf is moist, and the brown sugar granola topping is crisp and crumbly. I was surprised by how strongly the loaf tasted like rolled oats, but I liked the rustic, homemade feel it gave every slice. The center is marbled with a ribbon of raspberries, the occasional burst of sweetness… I’m sighing as I write this. I miss mornings when I used to bake breakfast and eat it at noon.

Oat, Pear, and Raspberry Loaf 5

Oat, Pear, and Raspberry Loaf
Adapted from bills open kitchen
Makes a 8 1/2” by 4 1/2” loaf

Crunchy Granola Topping
1/4 cup (25 g) rolled oats
1/4 cup (55 g) brown sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons (1 oz) chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Oat, Pear, and Raspberry Loaf
1 cup (100 g) rolled oats
1 cup (250 g) boiling water
11 tablespoons (150 g) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (115 g) brown sugar
1/4 cup (55 g) granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of a tangerine
1 1/2 cups (185 g) all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
Few generous shakes of ground cinnamon
1 pear, peeled, cored, and diced
3/4 cup (90 g) raspberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 8 1/2” by 4 1/2” loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper (not 100% necessary, but it’s nice to be safe.)

To make the topping, combine all the topping ingredients in a small bowl and rub with your fingertips until the mixture is well incorporated and forms small clumps.

To make the loaf, pour the boiling water over the rolled oats and set aside until lukewarm. Squeeze out the extra water.

Cream the butter and sugars until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between eggs, then mix in the vanilla extract and tangerine zest. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon over the creamed butter. Add the drained oats and half of the diced pear, and fold the whole mixture with a rubber spatula until combined.

Spread 2/3 of the batter into the loaf pan. Sprinkle the remaining diced pear and the raspberries. Smooth the remaining 1/3 of the batter over the fruit, then sprinkle the topping evenly over it. [The batter will probably completely fill the loaf pan without leaving any room – it’s okay, mine went all the way to the top but didn’t rise much or spill. You might want to put a rimmed baking pan on a lower rack of the oven just in case it overflows.]

Bake for an hour and ten minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean (keep in mind that the pear and raspberries will stay moist.) Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife along the edges and turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Printer-Friendly Recipe – Oat, Pear, and Raspberry Loaf

Entry filed under: Breads, Breakfast/Brunch. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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50 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lauren  |  October 2, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I love reading all about your life in Boston. It sounds like a beautiful city, and even better with a group of great friends. Elissa, we must talk soon.

    This loaf? Gorgeous. We’ve never had pears around the house, but this could be a great reason to go out and grab some :).

  • 2. Jaime Ramsay  |  October 3, 2010 at 3:27 am

    It sounds like you are having the time of your life in Boston. I knew that this was a Bill Granger recipe as soon as I saw the picture – I love him! He makes such beautiful, healthy recipes which are full of flavour. I think I’m going to have to make it again!

  • 3. kaitlyn  |  October 3, 2010 at 5:38 am

    yummo :)
    Q. are you a very health consious eater? and are you overweight, underweight or healthy weight? x

    • 4. Elissa  |  October 3, 2010 at 2:11 pm

      Kaitlyn – I love sweets, but I’m also pretty health conscious when it comes to my food. I’m at a healthy weight.

  • 5. Beverly  |  October 3, 2010 at 8:20 am

    This morning I read a wonderful story about you in the Pacific Northwest section of the Seattle Times.

    You are truly a gifted writer, photographer, and amazing baker/chef.

    I especially love the fact that you love your parents what lucky folks they are to have you.

    Best wishes for continued success in all that you do,


  • 6. buttersweetmelody  |  October 3, 2010 at 8:30 am

    this is so beautiful and moving. In a few months I’ll be moving from my country to study as well and I’m really scared…
    this bread looks delicious! Thanks for the stories, and the recipes…



  • 7. Anna  |  October 3, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Loved reading your post about your life in Boston. And your bread looks fantastically yummy! I definitely am going to bookmark your recipe.

  • 8. caeri  |  October 3, 2010 at 10:17 am

    your posts always make my day :)
    i’m doing 3rd year journalism in South Africa, would be interesting to see how our courses are similar/different. do you have a course outline?

    • 9. Elissa  |  October 3, 2010 at 2:15 pm

      caeri – First of all – how cool is it that you’re studying in South Africa? Shoot me an email, since I’d be interested in hearing about your journalism studies there!

  • 10. jess  |  October 3, 2010 at 11:12 am

    sounds like you’re having the ultimate college experience. it’s awesome how you’ve been able to immerse yourself into hands-on journalism so quickly. i remember when i started as a freshman, i was stuck in those core courses and it wasn’t until at least sophomore year we did anything related to our majors.

    anyway, i was reading an article about legislation regarding how doctors and hospitals may get paid differently in mass (researching for work). then i saw the author’s name. i was like no way, could it be? and by that random discovery, i think i know what college you are at. congratulations again, they have such a great communications/journalism program!

  • 11. Charles  |  October 3, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Congratulations on the success of all your efforts. Enjoy your college years and keep baking your wonderful goodies!

  • 12. Kim, Rambling Family Manager  |  October 3, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    It’s so good to hear from you and see how college life is going. I’d love to see some of the photos you are taking for your class- any chance of putting some of those up?? :)

    • 13. Elissa  |  October 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm

      Kim – Absolutely! I’m planning a post with lots of Boston photos and general photography. :) Excited!

  • 14. Jan Fahey  |  October 3, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Enjoyed your article in the Seattle Times about leaving for Boston with your trunk packed with baking equipment. When I was in college in Berkely in the early 1970s, I too was smitten by the romance of steamer trunks. A college friend a couple years older who had dual US and British citizenship. When she graduated college, she bought a very large trunk (one almost waist high), gave away most of her possessions, packed all that remained into the trunk and left for England to find a job. It seemed so romantic that I thought–hey, I’ll buy a trunk too. In the 1970s trunks were much easier to find. At a second hand store where they had a stack of them that reached to the ceiling, I bought one that had built-in drawers on one side and a little secret pull-out drawer built into the back of the first drawer. When I graduated, I tried to squeeze all my possesions into the trunk before moving out of state. That proved to be impossible–I had some leftover stuff–but I did leave with the trunk and have it to this day, using it as a coffee table.

    Best wishes on your college adventure. Boston is a great city. Check out the glass flowers exhibit at the Natural History Museum at Harvard campus.

    • 15. Elissa  |  October 3, 2010 at 2:07 pm

      Jan – I loved this, thank you so much! I also find steamer trunks incredibly romantic and mysterious, except I know I could never fit my life into a trunk (I could barely fit my baking supplies.) I’d love to see a photo of yours! Thanks for the tip about the Natural History Museum.

  • 16. Warren Guykema  |  October 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Glad you love Boston. I knew you would.

    Please let us know how we can access your writing as things get published.

  • 17. Kate  |  October 3, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    I seem to be returning more and more to your blog for the pictures you paint of college and Boston. I still have a year and a half of school before I head to college myself but every time I read one of your blog posts it makes me want to leave right now!
    My school has just started pressuring us about college and is trying to get us to start thinking about where we would like to go and what we might be interested in majoring in. Being an indecisive person I’m still confused as to which direction to head in but your description of your experience majoring in journalism (even if it is only one month in) sounds so exciting.
    I’ve always had two completley different passions in life, science and English. As I start heading into the fray of searching for a college and deciding what I’m interested in, I seem to be straying more and more from the science to the English side. Reading your descriptions, I find myself falling harder and harder for the written word.
    I guess what I’m trying to say, which I have put into far too many words, is that I adore your blog and am swept away continuously by your descriptions and the heart you put into each post.

  • 18. jackieruinsthecake  |  October 3, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    God, you are such a good writer. You’re making me feel nostalgic for Boston, and I’ve only ever been there five times!

  • 19. jlcommeree  |  October 3, 2010 at 6:47 pm


    I am so glad that you have adopted Boston as a second home and adapted to it so well. You have a gift of living fully, whether it was high school past or the lovely opportunities college and Boston present you. Keep writing, shooting, and exploring – and sharing!

    PS. I second the tip about the glass flowers.

  • 20. Marta  |  October 3, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    This loaf is surely not the prettiest thing you’ve ever baked. Nonetheless, only imagining what it tastes like makes my mouth water (trying to avoid the word ‘drool’), it’s surreal in its yummyness.
    You know, for us less fortunate people who have absolutely no hand for cooking, this is almost like browsing in a way too expensive shop. Speaking for myself, I come here, read your text and let it marvel me – always.
    Then there are the lucky ones who can dare to try your recipes. I always envy them. To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t read the recipe itself… Sometimes, out of sheer curiosity, I go to the ingredients list, and then think “Yeah, dream on, Marta”. Yes, I definitely belong in the “dreamer” category! It’s really not fair, my grandmother could cook just about anything, she even wrote a cook book for her daughters, but it was my cousin who got the “gene”, not me. Me, I can prepare milk bottles for babies with my eyes closed… :) Do I have a point? Yes: some of us come here just for your writings and pictures (please don’t be offended, I’m quite sure this is not new to you, and, believe me, you would cry if you saw me try to cook/bake). So, I am really glad that we’ll be getting even more of you in the future, when you become a journalist. Yes, us, all over the world! :)

  • 21. Sam H.  |  October 3, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    I’m from Boston originally (I’m at school in Rhode Island right now), and while I was interning over the summer there was always a great farmers market outside of Government Center. It’s not as big as Haymarket, but they have great breads (there’s a black bean chipotle that’s amazing) and homemade hummus :)

    Hope you’re loving Boston, it’s definitely a great place!

  • 22. Karen Griffin  |  October 3, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    I, too, read the Pacific Magazine article this morning and was inspired to get into the kitchen! You are a very talented young woman and I wish you all the best in achieving your goals. I did, indeed, spend the day cooking and baking. The family favorite was a pie baked with apples purchased from the U District farmer’s market yesterday. I cannot remember the variety, but they are pink fleshed with yellow/green skin. The pie filling is a beautiful rose color and it tasted as delightful as it looked. Wish I could share with you! Has anyone else tried these apples?

  • 23. Kai Liao  |  October 4, 2010 at 1:17 am


    Oh my goodness, I have not had time to look at your blog in such a long time but I decided I needed a break right now (ugh, physics test in the morning so I should probably study). I love how you’ve figured out where to get all of your ingredients for baking! You need to show me around the produce markets so I can buy stuff other than junk food all the time. xD

    I’m so proud of you!! Congrats with the radio station again. =]


  • 24. Hinna  |  October 4, 2010 at 1:18 am

    I also enjoyed reading your article this morning. As many people have stated, you are a gifted writer, photographer and baker! I look forward to reading your post.

  • 25. Margarita  |  October 4, 2010 at 1:25 am

    Oh, my!!!!!!!!! Those colors are fantastic!!!!!!!!! I love the raspberry color next to the pear color, a match made in heaven. My favorite photo, though, has to be the one with the raspberrys in the tin and the glow of raspberrys shining off the side. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! They are all such a delightful feast for the eyes. Yummy!!!!!!! I’m thrilled you are sharing your life out there in Boston with us. Keep it all coming and thank you for all that you do. <3

  • 26. Rebecca  |  October 4, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Yummy! I printed out the recipe. Love the pictures that you take. You are a very talented young woman.

  • 27. Dana - Food for Thought  |  October 4, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Glad to hear you’re doing so well at school and keeping so busy!! This loaf looks so delicious… I’m definitely going to have to try it out!

  • 28. clairedille  |  October 4, 2010 at 9:06 am

    I just found your lovely blog and read this post and was immediately brought back to my days at Emerson! It really sounds like you go there, talking about the cafe paninis, the radio station, common, farmer’s market, etc. I graduated under 2 years ago and miss the city of boston so much. Thank you for bringing me back. I will definitely be keeping up with your wonderful posts!

  • 29. kat in the kitchen  |  October 4, 2010 at 10:01 am

    I adore your blog. While most other blogs are focused entirely on the food, the recipes and being witty-your blog is like reading a good book. I feel like I’m right beside you as you walk through the farmers markets touching and tasting. Your are on your way to becoming a great writer.

  • 30. Mr D  |  October 4, 2010 at 11:40 am

    So glad you are getting the whole different region thing. Food, plants and produce are such an awesome part of the world’s diversity. Also pretty glad that your blog is so wonderfully revealing about the exciting new chapter of Elissa. Thanks for keeping us posted. Nice article in the Times.
    Much Love
    Mr D

  • 31. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking  |  October 4, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    The way you write about Boston brings me back to my first few weeks as a freshman at Lasell College – I only went there for four years of school, but I miss that city every day. Thankfully, I’m going back for a friend’s wedding this week and will get to experience Boston again, but wherever I am, it will always be home. You’re very lucky!

  • 32. Geni - Sweet and Crumby  |  October 4, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Your college life seems to suit you well. I am glad you were able to find some local farmer’s markets to give you a taste of the seasons that the lovely dorm food probably lacks. This pear loaf looks crunchy and divine. I am a pear fanatic as well…mostly in salads and raw but this looks like something I will have to try.

  • 33. Allison  |  October 4, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Hi Elissa, I am new to your blog but just wanted to say that I am so completely enamored with it! Your clarity of voice and awareness makes me wish I could go back to my first year of college and do it all over again with the same bright-eyed openess you are describing to us all. Heck, I wish I could have that type of awareness now! I look forward to hearing about your college experiences.

  • 34. Scigirl2010  |  October 4, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Maybe you could get to know the cooking staff at your dorm and make “suggestions.” Never hurts to try to change the institutional mind-set that we all need to eat mushy green beans!


  • 35. Noreen  |  October 5, 2010 at 12:41 am

    I read your article in the Seatle times and my husband is right you are a great writer. I am loving all the references to Boston. I went to BU and I loved it. In the Spring try and find one of the festivals for Saints in the North End, well if you stay over the summer, I have not been back to Boston in over 10 years and I miss it. You are in a great town for college and it sounds like you are enjoying it. I would love pictures of Boston. If you are at BU (or some other college with Brownstones as dorms) some do have kitchens in the common areas. I was a RA at 506 Beacon and at that time they had a kitchen in the basement. I baked a few times.

  • 36. Kid In The Front Row  |  October 5, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Your blog makes me very, very, very, very HUNGRY!

  • 37. Anna Kristina  |  October 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    It’s become a tiny bit surreal, reading a blogger I admire so much (as always, your writing is beautiful!) who now lives in my own city. I know exactly what the weather was like on Friday. Sunday evening I walked past Neptune Oyster. I too, am watching the leaves change. It’s lovely to see the city through another perspective! That said, I, as well as many others, I’m sure, would love to see your photos of Boston – the club sounds fantastic!

  • 38. Warm Vanilla Sugar  |  October 6, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    This loaf looks perfect! I love this recipe.

  • 39. Mary  |  October 8, 2010 at 1:40 am

    Oh my! The combination of flavors looks amazing! YUM! This has been bookmarked :)

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  • 40. Xinmei  |  October 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Wow! I love the photos :) Must try this sometime! Xinmei

  • 41. Louisa  |  October 12, 2010 at 7:56 am

    I’ve gotta say that as a senior in high school right now, reading this and hearing how much you’re enjoying college has made me feel a little more comfortable and excited for my upcoming freshman year… although, I’m still pretty freaked out about the concept of not being able to cook or bake… haha! Good luck with everything! :)

    – Louisa

  • 42. Ann  |  November 9, 2010 at 8:05 am

    I want some can? i am hungry now..

  • 43. Maria  |  January 29, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Hi, can you please tell me what you mean when you say ‘squeeze out all the extra water’ of the oats? How? What do you mean? Thanks, I love your blog!

  • 44. Baking and a lousy run | Tofu Meets Her Match  |  March 27, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    […] oat, pear, and raspberry loaf, recipe courtesy of 17 and Baking. This bread is heavenly. (I like to call it a bread because then I am justified in eating it for […]

  • 45. Lexie  |  May 12, 2011 at 12:54 am

    I can imagine the feeling of being homesick, and know that it is something I will become familiar with when I leave for college. I applaud you on being able to adapt to life in Boston, it is something that not all people are able to do. I believe that finding things that remind you of home, i.e. the farmers markets, is a key in being able to look at Boston as your new home. I imagine you only becoming more suited to life as a college student as the days go by. Good luck!

  • 46. Red Velvet Cheesecake « 17 and Baking  |  August 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    […] the week baking, and I handed him fork after fork of desserts to sample. He’d just tried the Oat, Pear, and Raspberry Loaf when he said, “You’re really going to do this. Keep the blog […]

  • 47. afracooking  |  September 20, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with your alterations. I made this loaf a few years ago and it just fell apart. At the same time it just tasted amazing. So I cannot wait for a chance to try your version.

  • 48. home sweet home. | thoughts, life and food.  |  July 10, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    […] i decided to try making the an oat, pear and raspberry loaf (recipe adapted from 17andbaking, which by the way is another one of my favorite […]

  • 49. Red Velvet Cheesecake | VIVIMETALIUN  |  December 5, 2013 at 10:40 am

    […] the week baking, and I handed him fork after fork of desserts to sample. He’d just tried the Oat, Pear, and Raspberry Loaf when he said, “You’re really going to do this. Keep the blog […]

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Elissa Bernstein

I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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