Sunday, 25 October 2009

The 21st Century Housewife's© Pear and Almond Muffins


We are still enjoying the wonderful fruits of the autumn season in our house, especially the wonderful pears we have been getting. I have a lot of pears to use up before we go on our holiday to Athens though, so I decided to do some baking this afternoon. I love the flavours of pear and almond together, and as I also had some ground almonds in the store cupboard, I decided to experiment. The result was a batch of cake-like muffins which were a lovely tea time treat. (It’s not just me who thought so, my family thought they were so tasty that I almost did not have enough muffins to photograph!)

This recipe makes about fifteen large muffins. I tried to just make twelve and as you can see they over-flowed the muffin cups a bit! I like to grate the pears as it distributes them very evenly throughout the batter, but if your pears are very ripe it might be easier to chop them in small pieces as very ripe pears can disintegrate if you try to grate them. Wait until the last minute to prepare the pears, grating them into the dry ingredients just before you mix the wet and dry ingredients together in order to prevent the pears from going brown.

I have not tried it, but I am almost certain that if you did not have any buttermilk to hand, ordinary milk would work. The flavour might be slightly different, but I doubt it would make the muffins any less delicious!

I have to say, despite their cake-like sweetness, I would have absolutely no objection to having one of these for breakfast - and will do so tomorrow if there are any left!

2 eggs, lightly beaten
125 ml buttermilk
50 grams butter, melted and allowed to cool slightly
1 teaspoon almond flavouring
200 grams plain (all purpose) flour
150 grams ground almonds
150 grams light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 or 3 pears

Preheat oven to 170℃ or 350℉. Line muffin cups with paper liners.

In a medium bowl or pitcher, mix together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and almond flavouring.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder and salt. Peel and core the pears, and grate them into the dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and the pears in the large bowl. Fold in gently but firmly. Do not beat, but make sure everything is thoroughly mixed together.

Divide the mixture between about 15 large muffin cups or about 20 smaller ones. I like to use an ice cream scoop to get the batter into the muffin cups with as little mess as possible.

Bake large muffins for about 20 to 25 minutes, watching carefully to make sure they do not get too brown. (Smaller muffins will take less time to cook.) Muffins are done when a piece of dry spaghetti inserted into the middle comes out without any batter clinging to it.

Remove from muffin tins and allow to cool on wire rack - although these smell so good (and taste so yummy warm) they may not last long enough to cool!