Pear, Pistachio, and Ginger Blondies

February 16, 2012 · 14 comments · Print This Post

in Baked Goods, Desserts

I was once a hoarder of books and then I got an iPad and everything changed. My love affair with tangible reading materials has faded to such an extent that I’m honestly a little shocked. You see, once upon a time I railed against the cult of ebook. I insisted that I needed “real books” because of the way they felt and smelled and I never met a bookstore I didn’t like. Give me pages or give me death! I’m serious. I was hardcore. And now I’m hardcore in love with my iPad and Kindle Touch instead. Especially when it comes to cookbooks.

When we moved I gave away a disgusting amount of unsolicited review copies and books I’d picked up on sale and even some that I’d received as gifts. I still feel rather guilty about the items I received as gifts but finances sometimes rule out over nostalgia when you’re shipping your belongings cross country. Needless to say it was a recipe bloodbath. The cookbooks that made the cut fit into two small book boxes.

The cookbooks I purchase now are all ebooks. I’ve always used my laptop in the kitchen but it’s now been replaced with my iPad. Yes, it sometimes gets little olive oil finger prints on it. No, it’s not a big deal.

One of the most exciting ebook developments (for me) in the past few months was the ability for libraries to rent kindle ebooks. I can’t even begin to tell you how much time I’ve spent browsing the San Francisco Public Library’s eLibrary. It’s seriously my new best friend. In fact, the recipe for this post was discovered while I “paged” through an ebook of Martha Stewart’s Cookies during the holidays.

Now, would I be OK with cookbooks on my non-color Kindle Touch? No. Not so much, but the full-color iPad offers a very good user experience that suits my needs perfectly. Have you had a similar change of heart or are you still hanging onto your cookbooks with white knuckled fury?

Enough about ebooks though. We’ve got blondies lounging about on a pig-shaped Paula Deen branded cutting board!

I feel that it’s my duty to warn you that this flavor combo is very different. You’re either going to love it or hate it. Also, dried pears are kind of a pain to find. I suspect Whole Foods probably sells them and you can definitely get them online at any of the bigger nut and fruit sellers. I picked up mine at the ferry building farmers market.

I also think that a few dark chocolate chunks would have been a nice addition to this recipe. If you’ve ever had chocolate covered ginger before you’ll know why I’m recommending it. I think that what I enjoyed the most about these bars was the gorgeous gold on gold color combo. They look so warm and welcoming that it’s practically impossible to turn a slice down. So pour a big cold glass of milk, fire up your favorite eReader, and see what you think.

Pear, Pistachio, and Ginger Blondies
Originally published by Martha Stewart in the cookbook Martha Stewart’s Cookies

9 tablespoons (1 1/8 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried pears (4 ounces)
3/4 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped (3 1/4 ounces)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped candied ginger (1 1/4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan or a round cake pan. Line with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches to hang over sides. Butter parchment; set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until combined. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture until combined. Mix in pears, pistachios, and candied ginger.

Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. Lift blondie out of pan; transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely; cut into wedges.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 [email protected] February 16, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Books definitely needs space where you can store them. I am also guilty of hoarding books too, but it is quite a lot of ease browsing cookbooks in an Ipad =) Yummy blondies!


2 Kelly February 17, 2012 at 8:14 am

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen dried pears, but having made my own dried apples with a giant haul I had from this fall (I always go quite overboard when picking) it makes me want to try my hand at drying pears as well. I will admit I’m still a bit torn on eBooks. I love them for things I know I will probably only read/reference once (like a fiction book) but for cookbooks I still very much appreciate a paper copy. I know it seems silly since they so often get splashed when I am cooking, but I love sitting back on a lazy saturday, flipping through a cookbook looking for something to move.


3 Erin February 17, 2012 at 9:41 am

Ah. I see. I guess I’m missing that gene that so many others appear to have. With the exception of Nigella Lawson’s books (which I find quite chatty and charming) I don’t particularly enjoy thumbing through cookbooks for a fun read that often. If I’m planning a dinner party or a holiday meal I can really get into it but I’m just not big on reading them cover to cover. Don’t get me wrong I love looking at the gorgeous photos etc… but I’d rather read a good novel. Admittedly though I do go on mini cookbook and cooking magazine binges at my mom’s house as well as when we visit CK’s grandmother as they both subscribe to lots of publications, but even then I’m usually just looking for the most scrumptious pictures to clip and bring home with me to make later.

I’m also still heavily influenced by the whole moving 3 times in less than a year thing. A gazillion boxes of books (and then downsizing them) will kill anyone’s kindred feelings of love 😉


4 Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker February 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm

This combination of flavors sounds amazing, can’t wait to try these!


5 Jill Mant~a SaucyCook February 18, 2012 at 12:29 am

Oh I’m going for it! I have had chocolate covered ginger! This recipe looks and sounds delicious and any friend of the libraries is a friend of mine!


6 Erin @ Brownie Bites February 18, 2012 at 6:07 am

I had the same resistance to e-readers until I got my Kindle.. now you can pry it from my cold dead hands. The photos in this post are just lovely and the recipe sounds fantastic!


7 Hänni February 22, 2012 at 7:51 am

I like your Mrs. cup. Do you have a Mr. with a mustache?


8 Erin February 22, 2012 at 8:00 am
9 eheff February 23, 2012 at 7:39 am

these look amazing. my mom made a recipe with dried pears one thanksgiving and we couldn’t find them anywhere. we finally had to buy about 6 containers of mixed dried fruit at wf and pick out all of the pears. that recipe probably cost $45 to make.


10 Erin February 23, 2012 at 7:43 am

That so sounds like something my mother and I would have done. Had I not happened upon the huge dried fruit stand at the market I probably would have never made this recipe. Although, for future reference, another great site for more uncommon dried fruits and nuts is this:

I’ve ordered from them before and they have excellent products.


11 EB February 23, 2012 at 11:38 am

I love the SFPLs e-books! Their audio books keep me sane on long commutes.


12 Emily March 8, 2012 at 6:55 am

So, as you might expect, I’m running into difficulty finding dried pears. And I’m loosing my patience in terms of holding off on making these 🙂 Do you think a different dried fruit could work (I currently have dried apricots in the pantry…) or ditching the fruit and subbing in the chocolate chips (love chocolate and ginger)? Thanks!


13 Erin March 8, 2012 at 9:56 am

Hi Emily,

I know…It’s not easy to find dried pears “in the wild” and when buying online you usually have to order a full pound and who knows if you’ll like them that much, right? I think that if you’re ready to get your baking on then definitely toss in some good chocolate chunks and go to town. Please let me know how it turns out!


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