- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds (see note)
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 medium bosc pears, peeled and shredded
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- ½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2½ cups whole-wheat flour (13¾ ounces)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar (optional)
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 300°F. Spray loaf pan with cooking spray, making sure to spray all edges. Set aside.
Spread fennel seeds onto a sheet pan and transfer to oven for 10 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant.
Remove fennel seeds from oven and transfer to a small bowl to cool. Once cooled, measure out 1 tablespoon and set aside. Transfer remaining seeds to a spice grinder and process until finely ground. Measure out 2 teaspoons of ground fennel, save remaining for another use.
In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla until pale in color. Set aside.
Lightly squeeze juice from shredded pear, reserving 2 tablespoons. Measure out one packed cup shredded pear and transfer to a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons reserved pear juice, ¼ teaspoon orange zest, 2 tablespoons orange juice, and cranberries, mix to combine.
Add buttermilk, oil, fennel seeds and ground fennel to pear mixture. Mix until combined.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Form a well in the dry ingredients and add wet ingredients. Fold together until just combined and no flour pockets remain.
Bake for 55–60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
If you do not have a spice grinder you can use pre-ground fennel and whole fennel seeds. Toast the spices separately in a small saucepan. The seeds will take about 5 minutes over medium heat and the ground fennel 2—3 minutes on low heat.
Store in an airtight container or wrapped in foil for 3–4 days.