Pear Ginger Walnut Muffins

September 14, 2011
9 Ratings
  • Makes one dozen medium-sized muffins
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.

Ms. T

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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)
  • Muffins
  • 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
  1. Pear Ginger Sauce
  2. 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.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of sugar, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  4. 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. Muffins
  2. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Grease muffin pan.
  3. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, and salt in a bowl.
  4. 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.
  5. Stir in pear ginger sauce, then fold in flour mixture to combine. Stir in 1 cup of walnuts and divide batter among muffin cups.
  6. 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.
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  • Mary Jo Jordan-Lassiter
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A museum marketing professional 8 hours a day, and a gal who's dreaming, drooling, obsessing about food for the other 18 hours. Wait, that doesn't add up to 24? Oh, that's because I'm counting the hours I'm supposed to be working that I dream about food (don't tell my boss). Several years ago, I started a cooking club with six girlfriends...ten years later...many of our addresses and last names have changed, our palettes have gotten more sophisticated and the wine has gotten less cheap. We now usually sit at dining room tables like grownups instead of on cushions on the floor of studio apartments, and the conversations have shifted with the life stages...but we're still going strong, the food gets better every month, and nothing is more pleasurable than sharing an afternoon laughing, eating, and trading tips on recipes and life.

37 Reviews

LOIS A. September 2, 2022
I was so excited to taste these. they are absolutely tasteless.
Sarah G. March 25, 2019
Had to add apple chunks -- didn't have enough pear sauce after it cooked down. Add cardamom to the pear sauce, it goes so well with the ginger!
raskol January 28, 2019
lovely and perfect. replaced sugar in topping with honey. used spelt and whole oats. no sugar in pear sauce. beautifully textured muffin!
Mary J. October 23, 2018
Has anyone done this muffin recipe
with cinnamon apple sauce?
I think you might up the sugar a T.
or two, and might dice in 1/3 cup or so diced apples 🍎!

What do you think?
Janet R. July 16, 2017
I love ginger and have a pear tree so this looked like the perfect recipe. I did adjust the 1 1/2 cups of flour to: 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup gluten free flour and 1/2 cup coconut flour like i do for most recipes. I didn't think this would be a problem but when mixed with the pear sauce and other ingredients there was not enough moisture to mix the flour into. I have a question about the pear sauce, it says in the recipe the melt the butter then add 2 cupa chopped pears and 1/4 cup sugar which is what I did however it then says to cook until pears are soft and most of the liquid of the liquid has evaporated, however I did not have any liquid, I don't know if my pears were too hard (Keiffer) and did not produce liquid or if I was supposed to add liquid. I added some milk to be able to incorporate all the flour into the pears, butter mixture.Any thoughts as I really like the flavor and would like to try them again.
Mallory December 29, 2015
These muffins are outstanding. I subbed white whole wheat flour for the AP flour and used pecans in place of walnuts. So delicious!
Mallory December 29, 2015
I also didn't bother peeling the pears which added some extra fiber and texture to the muffins ;)
Pumpkiness October 25, 2015
Loved this recipe. Since I watch our sugar intake, I used Truvia in pear sauce and Truvia Baking Mix for the muffins. I also substituted white whole wheat flour for a third of the flour. Yet my husband is fighting to not share any!!!
missfats March 2, 2014
Fantastic recipe! See my full review:
Lee B. January 10, 2014
I found this recipe on a random page not being familiar with this site. It sounds delicious and I look forward to trying it. But I am most interested in the muffin tin they are pictured in. My mother had these when I was a child(many years ago) and I would love to find them. Everything she made in them had such wonderful crust.
Cris December 29, 2013
Just made these and I had to stop by and say: 'thank you'!!! so delicious! They go on my 'favourite' list
Samuel G. December 15, 2013
Made these this morning with some pears that were getting a bit soft. I've never been a huge pear fan, but these are absolutely amazing. Ginger and pear is a wonderful combination! I didn't sprinkle any sugar or nuts on top due to personal preference. The use of ginger two ways was also a really smart decision. Thanks for sharing!
Erika September 20, 2013
Fresh ginger makes me quesy. Ground ginger from the spice aisle almost does the same, so if I use it, it is sparingly. (Horror of horrors, I know.) But treats like these sound so divine...I am wondering if there is a gently gingered version of these muffins...or if there is some ginger substitute that I have not discovered...sigh...
AntoniaJames September 20, 2013
I'd use 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg + 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (or ground cardamom, if you prefer). It's a classic combination that I use often when baking with fruit (including in my Pear-Filled Cowboy Coffee Cake, and my Spiced Applesauce Quinoa Muffins, posted here). It would work beautifully in these muffins! (I'd use those amounts for both the pear sauce and the muffins.) ;o)
Ms. T. September 20, 2013
I agree with AJ, and I've made her delicious pear coffee cake many times :) The muffins will still be good without ginger--the pear sauce (or apple sauce, if you prefer) makes them extra moist. You can tweak the flavor profile in any direction. I also like the combination and pear and almond flavors, so maybe you could play with almond extract instead of vanilla and topping with almonds instead of walnuts or pecans. (if you do, I would skip the cinnamon and cloves, which may overpower.) If you find a variation you like please let us know!
AntoniaJames September 20, 2013
What a great idea, using almonds and almond extract. Every fall, without fail, I fall hopelessly in love. With pears. So glad to see this recipe again. Will definitely be making these, with the almond variation, soon! ;o)
Franca December 2, 2012
These didn't last 5 minutes at my house. My kids devoured them. Luckily I got to taste one. Excellent flavour.
Ms. T. December 2, 2012
So glad you (and your kids) enjoyed the recipe!
nannydeb September 21, 2012
I made these with whole wheat flour and they were moist & delicious! I also subbed pecans (because that's what I had) and topped them with wheat germ & turbinado sugar. Love the ginger pear sauce. This is now my fave muffin recipe!
Ms. T. September 21, 2012
Thanks nannydeb, so glad you liked the recipe! I will have to try the whole wheat flour and wheat germ next time as that sounds good. I often use pecans instead of walnuts--whatever I had on hand. This year, our pear tree didn't bear much fruit, so I definitely did not get my fill of these muffins. I'll have to do it with apples instead.
adele93 March 23, 2013
hi, just wondering if you subbed all the AP flour for whole meal or only part and if you feel the 'raising' was affected?
[email protected] October 11, 2011
onegirlandheripod October 4, 2011
Oh wow, these are going to be my treat to myself for finishing exams tomorrow! The thought of gingery pears will keep me motivated through this glut of revision....
Ms. T. October 7, 2011
That is quite a compliment! Hope your exams went well and that you rewarded yourself well with muffins, naps, and other treats :)
lime L. October 2, 2011
I recall the morning you baked these and how heavenly the house smelled. Not to mention how tasty the muffins are !
Ms. T. October 7, 2011
Thanks Mom. Consider it a payback for all the times you filled the house with smells of pancakes with pear-ginger sauce. (My inspiration for this recipe.)
nettleandquince October 1, 2011
Pears, ginger, walnuts - an excellent combination! I will have to try these muffins, I'm sure they will be a hit with the children.
Ms. T. October 7, 2011
Thanks nettleandquince. I hope you and the kids enjoy!
AntoniaJames September 17, 2011
The pear ginger sauce sounds delicious! And we love muffins here, so this is perfect. Definitely going to try these, soon. ;o)
Ms. T. September 18, 2011
Thanks AntononiaJames! Let me know how they turn out.
AntoniaJames September 27, 2011
Do you measure the walnuts before or after chopping? 1 1/2 cups of already chopped walnuts seems like an enormous amount for a dozen muffins . . . . (Making these this week, as soon as my pears ripen up a bit!) ;o)
Ms. T. September 27, 2011
Good catch, AJ! You're right, I measured before I chopped. It also depends on how nutty you want your muffins. Sometimes I put the nuts in the batter and on top (as described here) and sometimes I just sprinkle them on top. Let me know how yours turn out!
wssmom September 15, 2011
Breaking out the muffin pan this weekend for these!
Ms. T. September 17, 2011
Thanks wssmom! Let me know how they turn out. BTW, it has just been brought to my attention that I have an error in the recipe--it should be 1/4 cup of sugar in the sauce, not 1/2 cup. (Unless you prefer things on the sweeter side.) I'll edit this once the judging is over.
Stephanie B. September 20, 2011
No worries, Ms. T. We already made the correction.