Ever since I started watching foreign cooking shows and competitions (Read: Masterchef and such), I’ve been exposed to so many different types of foreign foods and foods that my mom does not typically cook. Over in Singapore, we’re lucky to have a huge variety of fruits to choose from, both temperate and tropical, but one of the fruits that I most wanted to try when I went to Australia was actually a pear, a brown pear, otherwise known as Beurré Bosc or Kaiser pears. 
Why this pear in particular? Well, I saw them a number of times, being used in tarts and pies, and what sold me was an episode of masterchef where the contestants poached these pears and the image of the judges digging into the soft flesh of these poached pears is still imprinted in my mind today. Needless to say, when I got my hands on these pears, the first thing I did was to eat them raw, followed by baking them as part of my pear and almond tart, followed by poaching them to eat with a quenelle of vanilla ice cream on the side – heavenly I tell you. 

I haven’t seen these pears around in Singapore or Malaysia, but that might be because I seldom frequent the bigger supermarkets which tend to sell a greater variety of fruits. These pears are shaped like the Packham pears that we often see around, with a greenish-brown or dark brown skin (they become dark brown with spots when they ripen) and their flesh can be likened to a better version of Packham pears. Packham pears tend to be overly soft when ripe, with a nauseating sweetness (in my opinion), but Beurré Bosc pears have that balance just right. I was so enamoured by them that I finished the few pears I’d bought in Eveleigh, and went on to buy a whole tub of them for baking. They are the perfect combination of sweet and firm. 

For the recipe below, I used a bunch of pears I bought from Eveleigh Market – they were organic and the method of purchase was unique – a bag was worth $10 and you could fill up the bag to as full as you want with as many different fruits as you wanted. It was slightly expensive of course, but you are paying for organic and fresh and local produce – a difference that I was willing to pay for and a cause I was willing to support.

Pear and Ginger Muffins 
Adapted from New York Times
Makes 6 big muffins 
Check out my crumb top :]

Ingredients: 

For the muffins:
1 cup all-purpose flour 
1 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp ground ginger 
½ tsp salt 
½ tsp cinnamon 
½ tsp allspice 
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil 
1 egg 
1½ tbl honey
⅓ cup sour cream
1 cup chopped peeled pears 
For the topping: 
¼ cup packed brown sugar 
2 tsp butter, softened 
¼ tsp ground ginger 
Method: 
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, ground ginger, salt, cinnamon, allspice and brown sugar. 
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and sour cream, followed by the oil and honey. Pour into the dry ingredients and combine until the dry ingredients are moistened. It is okay to have lumps in the batter. 
  3. Add in the chopped pears and briefly fold the mixture to distribute the pears evenly. Spoon the batter into muffin cups. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C. 
  5. In the meantime, cut the butter into the brown sugar and ground ginger, until you get ‘bread crumbs’. Sprinkle this over the tops of your muffins. 
  6. Bake the muffins for 25 minutes, until the tops are brown and firm to touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for another 10 minutes before consuming. 
Janine’s jots: 
  • Notes: Measurements are in cups because I actually did not have any weighing scale while I was in Australia and I survived by using just measuring cups and spoons – not that I liked it though – I still prefer my trusty electronic scale!
  • Taste: Friends who tasted the muffins said that the ginger taste was not sufficiently pronounced and they preferred a spicier muffin. For myself, I thought the balance of pear and spice was just right as hints of the cinnamon and ginger are pretty obvious. 
  • Texture: The muffin tends to be on the moister side because of the chopped pears. You can reduce the amount of pears if you prefer more ‘cake’ than pears because these muffins were packed full of pears! The crumb topping is also a must, because it provides a nice juxtaposition against the moist and fine-textured muffin underneath. 
  • Storage: The muffin kept very well at room temperature (because it was winter) for a week! I also stored some in the fridge and they kept well for a fortnight – I zapped them in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm them before eating. 
  • Would I make this again?: Definitely – these muffins are a perfect winter treat as these pears are in season and they go perfect with mulled wine. For those in warmer climates, don’t write off these pear muffins because these definitely are not sold anywhere that I know of, and the combination of sweet/soft pear with the lightly spiced cake is just sublime.  
All the ingredients nicely laid out to be incorporated.
Adding the crumb topping
A close-up of the crumb topping – it’s really just crumbs – no need to combine any further!
I thought this picture provided pretty interesting shadows. What do you think?
And just a few more gratuitous shots outside, just to show off my new purchase. I was grocery shopping at Coles (as usual) when I spotted this huge gray box with the words “cake stand”. Surrounding it were $5 deals, things which I cannot remember now, but I remember the excitement I felt when I thought – oh boy this huge cake stand for A$5?! I immediately grabbed it and rushed to the nearest cashier to do a price check. True enough, it WAS FIVE BUCKS! I paid for it on the spot, even though I wasn’t done with my grocery shopping yet. And that’s the story of kiasu me and my lovely cake stand. The best buy out of my entire Australian trip, which says a lot since I did buy a whole lot of other baking things in my one month there. And yes, I did lug it back home – I think it weighs a hefty 2kg!


8 comments

  1. Your muffins look good. The last time I try to bake an upside down pear cake, I fail big time! Maybe I should try making these muffins.

  2. Janine says:

    @Quay Po: thanks for the compliment – I’m sure if you were to try these muffins you wont fail!

  3. Pear Muffins YUMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THis is going to be a must do for my office. I always try to make them some treats!

    Thanks for the recipe!

    We saw you on food gawker we are your newest followers! Can’t wait for more recipes.

    Love,

    http://chickswholovetoeat.blogspot.com/

  4. Yue says:

    I love pears! I’ll definitely try this & thanks for the recipe :)

  5. You’ve been applying what you learnt from Tartlette’s book huh! I just received my copy. Love the second shot!

  6. Your pear and ginger muffins looks really good! I always envy when I see all those gorgeous fruits and berries which we can’t get over here, even if we can, they certainly cost a bundle!
    I love your cake stand, simple and elegant!

  7. Maria says:

    These look perfect! I have a pear and ginger cake recipe I am keen to try, I love that combination!

  8. Janine says:

    @Amy & Tiffanie: no problem! thanks for following :)

    @Yue: thanks :) do try it out, it’s really nice!

    @Jacob: =D Yup I have, and thanks! Hoping to see more baking from you soon ;p

    @Kitchen flavors: I feel the same way with seasonal fruits that other places get! Thanks – the cake stand was a good buy!

    @Marla: thanks :) the combination is perfect, do try out your recipe soon!

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