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Author Notes: I’m not ready for pears yet. I’m still trying to get my fill of peaches, corn and juicy ripe tomatoes. You know, the summer stuff. Turning my attention to pears and apples feels like packing away my summer sandals before I’ve even had a chance to wear them. But even though I’m not ready for pears yet, the pears are definitely ready for me. The little pear tree in our backyard has already dropped about sixty of them. They drop on the ground one at a time with a little thud, and roll down the stone path towards the house, practically knocking on the kitchen door. They can no longer be ignored. It’s time to get cooking.
I'm a sucker for the pear and ginger combo, so I created a pear ginger sauce and then adapted the "Applesauce Spice Muffins" recipe from Epicurious (Gourmet, November 2003) to fit my fancy.
You can make the pear ginger sauce ahead of time and store it in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for a few weeks. The quantities listed here are perfect for one batch of muffins, but I usually double or triple the pear sauce recipe and keep some in my freezer for the next batch of muffins, or to serve over crepes, french toast, or ice cream.
Food52 Review: Ms. T's muffins are a wonderful breakfast treat. The pear and ginger combo is wonderful and the use of fresh and ground ginger results in a well developed flavor. The pear sauce retains lots of pear chunks that are a great treat in the muffins. I used fresh (non-frozen) ginger and loved the 2 tablespoons ginger in the sauce, but feel free to adjust to your preferences. - biffbourgeois —Stephanie Bourgeois
Makes one dozen medium-sized muffins
Pear Ginger Sauce
- 4 small, ripe pears (Bartlett or similar), peeled, cored and diced. Should yield about 2 cups.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger (I keep my peeled ginger root in the freezer and grate it with a microplane when I need it, which tends to make the gratings a little fluffy. So if you’re using fresh, unfrozen ginger, you might want a little less)
- Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When butter is melted and frothy add pears, tossing with a wooden spoon to coat.
- Add 1/4 cup of sugar, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
- Add grated ginger and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, until pears are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 15-20 minutes.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger for batter + 1/2 teaspoon for topping
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup sugar for batter + 2 tablespoons for topping
- 1 stick (1/2 cup), plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup pear ginger sauce (recipe above)
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
- Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Grease muffin pan.
- Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, and salt in a bowl.
- Whisk together eggs and 1/3 cup sugar in a large bowl until combined well, then add butter whisking or blending with electric mixer until creamy.
- Stir in pear ginger sauce, then fold in flour mixture to combine. Stir in 1 cup of walnuts and divide batter among muffin cups.
- In a small bowl, combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/2 cup walnuts. Sprinkle topping evenly on top of muffins. Bake until muffins are golden and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then remove muffins from pan and cool slightly. Enjoy with coffee, preferably in a sunny spot in the backyard. Once cooled completely, the muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature 1 day, or in the freezer for about a week.