Monday, January 16, 2012

Let's talk

Let's talk about pears.  We're sort of in that no-man's land of winter fruit, in which the only decent looking fruits I can find with any regularity (and at any decent price) are apples, oranges, and pears.  I like pears, I really do, but I have a problem with them.  See, when I go to the store, all of the pears are a pretty uniform degree of rock-hard-ness.  So I buy a few, like 5 or 6, and I take them home.  They sit in my fruit bowl on the counter to soften up, and then - BAM! - every single one of them is really ripe. Like you-need-to-eat-this-today kind of ripe.  And I can't eat 6 pears in one day (well, I could, but that seems unpleasant). 

So, inevitably, I end up eating a bunch of them over the course of a couple of days, and then I have a couple that are still hanging out in the bowl.  This time around, I decided to make something with them.  A while back, I made a pear ginger quick bread that was quite tasty.  This time, I went for muffins. 

I found this recipe for pear and ginger muffins on my Googly reader, linking me to Not the Kitchen Sink!.  They were pretty good, but they needed more ginger.  In the notes on the recipe, the blogger mentions that some people thought they needed more ginger flavor, and since I usually agree with that sort of comment, I added extra fresh grated ginger on top of the ground ginger.  I still think they needed more. 

Also, I messed up the crumb topping.  For some reason, I thought I was supposed to put the topping on after baking the muffins.  Thinking back, I have no idea why I thought that was a good idea.  So, my topping didn't really stick or anything.  Don't be like me.  Except you should make these muffins. 

I made these mini, and it made about 20.  I would say at least double this recipe if you want to serve a crowd.

Pear and Ginger Muffins
Source: Not the Kitchen Sink!
Makes about 20 minis, or 6 large muffins

For the muffins:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger (optional: about another tsp of grated fresh ginger)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup chopped peeled pears

For the topping:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp butter, softened
1/4 tsp ground ginger

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a muffin pan with paper liners or spray with baking spray.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and brown sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and sour cream, followed by the oil and honey.  Pour into the dry ingredients and combine until the dry ingredients are moistened. Lumps are okay - if you overmix this, your muffins will be tough.
  4. Add in the chopped pears and briefly fold the mixture to distribute the pears evenly. Scoop the batter into muffin cups.  I think I filled mine almost full and it wasn't a problem.
  5. To prepare the topping, cut the butter into the brown sugar and ginger.  I did this with a little food processor/chopper thingie that came with my stick blender.  Much faster than doing it by hand. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the tops of the muffins.
  6. Bake the muffins for 25 minutes (start checking at 20 for minis), until the tops are brown and firm to touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for another 10 minutes before chowing down.

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