Poached Pear Bread combines sweet fruit and tender quick bread together in one pan. The bread is remarkably easy to make, we promise—watch our how-to video and see how it’s done. For this recipe, we use our Maple-Stout Quick Bread batter, whose flavors we absolutely love with the pears. But you can try any quick bread recipe you like; just know that you’ll probably need to bake it longer—about 5 or 10 additional minutes. After poaching the pears, don’t toss out the poaching liquid. It’s infused with a lovely pear essence and would be great in cocktails, drizzled on pound cake, or stirred into Greek yogurt. For more flavor in the pears, you can add cinnamon sticks or star anise to the poaching liquid.
Bring 4 cups water and granulated sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add pears; reduce heat to medium, and cook at a medium-low boil for 5 minutes or just until pears start to soften. Remove pears from pan; cool slightly. Trim bottom off each pear so that it is about the height of a 9 x 5–inch loaf pan. Lightly brush 11/2 teaspoons flour over bottom 2/3 of each pear.
Weigh or lightly spoon 7.88 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Place butter and brown sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine beer, sour cream, and syrup, stirring well with a whisk. Beating at low speed, add flour mixture and beer mixture alternately to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat just until combined.
Scrape batter into a 9 x 5-inch metal loaf pan coated with baking spray. Arrange pears in pan, pressing into batter. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.