Pear Muffins

Pears are funny fruits. Much like bananas, when you have a group of them, they seem to ripen all at the same time. Unlike bananas, they also have a very short window in which they are perfectly ripe, firm but yielding to the touch. I frequently get pears as gifts, particularly this time of year and as I can’t seem to resist buying them in fairly large quantities when the price is right, I will occasionally be forced to eat many pears in a day or two. Poor me.

Once in a great while I will tire of eating pears plain and begin to hunt around for something to do with them. Pears and cheese, pears in soup, pears in my oatmeal, pear sauce. I don’t usually add pears to my baking because they don’t hold up as well as firmer fruits, like apples, but a recipe from Everyday Food caught my eye. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any granola for the topping and and wasn’t going out to get any. I ended up reducing the baking time and temperature, but making similar muffins.

Before I bit into one, I worried that I hadn’t put enough spice into these muffins. As I tasted and chewed, I completely forgot about the spices. These muffins managed to taste just like my pear clafoutis, less custardy by default, but strikingly similar. The pears were soft and gave a lot of moistness to the muffin. The relatively delicate flavor of pear was strong, which I loved. There simply aren’t enough pear-flavored things.

Pear Muffins
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp butter, very soft
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup yogurt
2 cups pears, peeled and diced (2 med/lg Bartletts)

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with baking cups.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger.
In a medium bowl, cream butter with brown sugar. Beat in eggs one by one, followed by yogurt. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Mixture will be thick. Add pears and stir just until well distributed.
Fill muffin cups evenly with the mixture. Each cup should be quite full.
Bake at 375F for 17-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or cold.
Makes 12 muffins

11 comments

  1. I am not usually a muffin person, but I too am crazy for pears, so I’m thinking about trying these guys. Seems like I should be cooking with pears more, given the small window of perfection, about which you are so right!

    I was recently given a christmas present of some silicon muffin cups from Sur La Table. Have you tried these? If so, what do you think of them? I have used a silicon pan to make tiny little financiers, and was very happy with that, as the individual financier pans were so expensive and fiddly. It worked well.

    I’m really wondering what the sides of the muffins or cupcakes will be like- glossy or more like when you remove a cupcake paper? If you know?

  2. I have not tried the silicone muffin liner/cups, though I would be interested to see what they did. I know it won’t look like a regular muffin that the paper has been peeled off, since nothing should stick to the silicone. I don’t personally like using silicone molds for anything other than candy making (which they are great for) because the sides of things don’t brown well and they are much less stable, which isn’t an issue for muffins, but has resulted in quite a few broken cakes.
    I am curious to know how the individual cups work out. Let me know if you try them!

  3. I love Harry and David pears! My aunt introduced me to them a while back.

  4. Sounds like the perfect muffin to me! Can’t get enough of pears!

  5. I have a great Laurie Colwin recipe for a Pear Upside-Down Cake, delicate and tasty. Pear pie is great though, I have made many in my time. I use the Pie & Pastry Bible recipe. Yum.

  6. Pears work really well in dark, treacly gingerbread cakes too – gives a really Autumnal feeling and the brightness of taste against the dark spices and bitter treacles works so, so well!

  7. sounds absolutely delicious! I love that it has whole wheat flour…

  8. Hi Nic,
    Those muffins look adorable AND scrumptious. Love the muffin papers. Just wanted to wish you a very, very Merry Christmas. And thank you for helping to make Farmgirl Fare one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done.

    P.S. Joe has declared that he wants locally made brats and sauerkraut for New Year’s (I have no idea why), but I am going to follow your directions for making hot dog buns for them. Can’t wait! Thanks for creating Bakingsheet. It is absolutely fabulous. : )

  9. I really don’t like pears, at all, at all…but can tolerate them with gingerbread. I am just taking this opportunity to wish Nic and everyone who contributes to her site a very happy holiday season. I’ll see y’all on the other side of Christmas, on Chanukkah, while I prepare a nice brisket and latkes with apple (not pear!) sauce Sunday night. Holiday love to you all.

  10. Your pear muffins look awesome! I was thinking of making them as cupcakes for my daughter’s first birthday. We have a Kiefer pear tree on our farm and a lot of pears right now! Because I will be using a hard cooking pear, I think I might simmer them a bit first. Any suggestions for using harder pears, or ideas for an icing? Thanks for the post!

  11. I have silicone muffin liners, and my pear muffins are in the oven right now! Thank you so much for the recipe.. the batter was amazing. ;)

    In case anyone finds this thread and is still wondering, my silicone liners work so-so. I like not having to buy paper ones, but I do end up greasing mine anyway because I’ve had sticking problems. Granted, mine aren’t from Sur La Table. They do have a more “glossy” surface texture on the sides, and brown more nicely than my silicon muffin pan. (Wedding gifts, if you’re wondering why I have both.) :)

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