DEAR JEANNE: How can I reduce the fat and calories of this favorite recipe without sacrificing the taste? Thanks! – Sharyn, Vista, Calif.


3 eggs

1 cup cooking oil

2-3 pears (2 cups, peeled and grated)

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325. Butter and flour two small loaf pans. Beat eggs; beat in oil. Add pears, sugar, zest and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, stirring until moistened. Fold in walnuts. Bake about 55 minutes.

Makes 16 servings.


DEAR SHARYN: This is another version of the sweet fruit/vegetable bread. The original version was very heavy and oily, but the new one is lighter and still very moist. I have used two 8-inch-by-4-inch loaf pans (as suggested) instead of the standard 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pans, since the batter fills them and the larger pans make very thin loaves. I used very ripe pears, and when grated they became very much like applesauce. You could use applesauce, but if you do, use only 1 1/2 cups, not 2 cups. You could use any fruit or vegetable, for that matter; this bread is a little different, as the more prominent flavor is a hint of lemon from the zest, not cinnamon, which is the usual flavor of this kind of sweet bread.


1 egg

2 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla

3-4 whole pears, peeled and grated (1 1/2 to 2 cups)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup oatmeal, ground in a blender

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 325. Spray two 8-by-4-inch loaf pans with nonstick baking spray; sprinkle with flour. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat the egg and egg whites until light, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat for another minute. Add the oil, buttermilk, lemon zest and vanilla, and beat in. Beat in the pears.

3. In another bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to the wet ingredients and beat just until moistened.

4. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Sprinkle the tops with the walnuts.

5. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until browned on top and a sharp knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Makes 16 servings.

Each serving contains approximately: Original recipe: 309 calories; 18 gm fat; 40 mg cholesterol; 44 mg sodium; 35 gm carbohydrates; 4 gm protein; 1 gm fiber. Revised recipe: 169 calories; 5 gm fat; 14 mg cholesterol; 93 mg sodium; 28 gm carbohydrates; 3 gm protein; 2 gm fiber.


Jeanne Jones is the author of 33 cookbooks, most recently “Cooking From the Cupboard” (Rodale Press). For more information, you can go to her Web site, Send your recipe for revision to: Cook It Light, P.O. Box 1212, La Jolla, CA 92038. Please include a stamped (61 cents), self-addressed envelope.


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