Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pear and Ginger Muffins

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(12 standard muffins)

I picked up some gorgeous pears the other day and set aside a couple to make these muffins. A few months ago I had thought about making a steamed pear and ginger pudding for Daring Bakers, but made a steak and kidney pudding instead. When I looked at those pears, I thought about that combination once again.

(There you go Lisa, stuck it on a plate for you :p)

I have been on a bit of a muffin roll lately. These pear and ginger muffins hit the spot; they were moist, not too sweet, with good ginger flavour and a hint of lemon. I'm pleased I have been using whole wheat flour, bran and flax in my recent recipes without turning out heavy and dense muffins; in part that was always a fear of mine.

I did end up reducing the amount of applesauce and yogurt for these because two chopped pears provide a lot of moist fruit. There was a tad more batter than usual, but it was also a bit stiffer, so I just used all of it to fill the muffin tins resulting in small domes which rose almost 1/2" past the tops. Once baked, I had slightly larger muffins than usual.

Oh, and if you are wondering about the freshly ground black pepper. It's often added to German gingerbread, so I added some here. It provides a very subtle sharpness which works, I think.

Then there's the agave nectar, wonderful stuff! I've been using it to sweeten my coffee.

3/4 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon zest, minced
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper (optional)
1/4 - 1/3 cup agave nectar, honey or maple syrup, to taste
1/4 cup unsulfured blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup plain greek style yogurt
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
2 large eggs
2 firm ripe pears, cored and chopped (I used Bosc)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 12 cup standard muffin tin with baking papers or grease and flour. Set aside.

Mix the flours, flaxseed, bran, gingers, cinnamon, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda and ground black pepper (if using) in a bowl.

Whisk together the agave nectar, molasses, applesauce, yogurt, oil and eggs in a bowl until well combined.

Pour the liquid portion over the dry ingredients, add the chopped pear and stir to combine until everything is just moistened.

Divide and spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tins; it will probably go a bit past the top of the tin. I just spooned the extra batter in the centres creating little domes resulting in larger muffins than usual.

Bake for about 18-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

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