Ham and Pear Sandwich on Cranberry-Pecan Bread

I have a confession to make. Peanut butter and cherry jam on whole wheat bread is my go-to lunch.  To its credit, it’s quick, economical, and a complete source of protein.  It’s also the sandwich of choice for 5-year olds and yes, rather boring.

However this past week, the weekly Splendid Table newsletter featured a Tom Colicchio recipe for a Pear and Aged Cheddar Sandwich that inspired me.  To be fair, the original recipe involved poaching pears and toasting the sandwich.  As someone who devotes less than one minute to making my lunch every day, this seemed like an unreasonable time commitment and I decided to simplify things by using fresh pear slices and serving it cold.  While the original sandwich recipe might be better and a bit more sophisticated, I could find little to criticize about this autumn-inspired lunch.

This sandwich can be made on any type of bread, but using cranberry-pecan bread takes it to the next level.  While you can certainly buy a pre-made loaf, I adapted Jim Lahey’s recipe for no knead bread by adding a little whole wheat flour and a handful of dried cranberries and chopped pecans.  The hands-on time for no knead bread is minimal although it does require 18 to 24 hours of rising time.

Ham and Pear Sandwich on Cranberry-Pecan Bread
 – Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 1

Inspired by the recipe for a Sandwich of Cheddar with Smoked Ham, Poached Pear, and Mustard from ‘WICHCRAF: Craft a Sandwich into a Meal—And a Meal into a Sandwich by Tom Colicchio.

2 slices cranberry-pecan no knead bread (recipe follows)
Dijon mustard
4 slices aged cheddar cheese
about ¼ of one large pear, thinly sliced
3-4 slices ham (I used a rosemary ham that was particularly delicious)

Spread the Dijon mustard on one of the slices of cranberry-pecan bread.  Top with the aged cheddar cheese and the pear slices.  Add the sliced ham.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

Cranberry-Pecan No Knead Bread
Makes one round loaf

Adapted from Jim Lahey of Sullivan’s Bakery’s recipe for no knead bread featured in The New York Times.  You might also enjoy the Cinnamon-Currant no knead bread recipe, which is another adaptation of Lahey’s recipe, that I featured last September on Minced. 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups water

Whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl.

Stir in the dried cranberries and chopped pecans.  Add water and stir until just combined.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for at least 12 and up to 18 hours.

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface.  Fold dough over itself a couple of times, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cover a baking sheet with a cotton towel and dust generously with flour.  Using flour as needed, shape the dough into a loaf and place seam side down on the cotton towel.  Dust dough with more flour and cover with a second towel.  Let rise for 2 hours.

Thirty minutes before baking, place a rack in the middle of the oven and put a covered, heavy-bottomed 4 to 8-quart pot (Dutch ovens work great) on the rack.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Note:  If the pot has a plastic handle, cover it  with aluminum foil to protect it against the heat.

When the dough has finished its final rise, carefully remove the covered pot from the preheated oven.  Lifting the dough with the towel, carefully turn the dough into the pot seam side up.  Cover with the lid and bake for thirty minutes.  After thirty minutes, remove lid and cook until desired brownness, about 15 minutes more.  Remove bread from the pot and place on wire rack to cool.  Cool completely (if you can wait!) before serving.

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