Monday, April 14, 2014

Pear and almond muffins and the joys of fall

Pear and almond muffins / Muffins de amendoa e pera

I know that many people feel sad when they look out the window and see a cloudy, rainy day, but not me: I actually feel joy in my heart when the weather is like that, as it is today here in Sao Paulo (for the record, I do like sunny days when the weather is cold – I think it’s the best of both worlds).

It’s fall here now (but let’s keep it down or the temperatures might decide to go over 30°C again), time for soups and stews, hot cocoa, and for apples and pears, fruits I adore – and this year I intend to bake with quinces, too. These tender, delicious muffins, with a hint of lemon and almond, were worth all the trouble I had getting them out of the pan – their delicate texture paired with the moisture from the pears made it difficult for me to unmold them, but nothing that a bit of patience and some cursing couldn’t solve. ;)

Pear and almond muffins
slightly adapted from the über beautiful Love, Bake, Nourish: Healthier cakes and desserts full of fruit and flavor

Fruit topping:
2 small pears, cored and thinly sliced
20g unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon demerara sugar

125g unsalted butter, softened
65g mild honey
100g granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g all purpose flour, sifted
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
60g almond meal (finely ground almonds)
50ml whole milk, room temperature
finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Generously butter a 12-cup muffin pan or line it with paper cases (I buttered mine but it was hard to remove the cakes from it, so I suggest using paper cases, like my friend Valentina did).
Place the pear slices in a bowl, drizzle with the melted butter and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Toss to coat, then lay the slices in the bottom of each muffin cup, pressing firmly.

Muffins: using an electric mixer, cream butter, honey and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour if the mixture looks curdled. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla. With a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining flour, baking powder, salt, almond meal, milk and lemon zest, mixing just until incorporated. Spoon the batter over the pear slices, then bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 5 minutes, then carefully unmold and transfer to the wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12


Linda said...

They look so good, thank you so much for sharing. I also love the rain!

Laura (Tutti Dolci) said...

Beautiful muffins, I love pear and almond treats!

Anonymous said...

Hi Patricia,

I made these yesterday and they were wonderful. I enjoyed the balance of flavor and texture, the delicate, sweet pears (I used Comice pears.), the nutty almond flour and the tart lemon zest, the soft pears and the crunchy muffin. For me, contrast is vital in food and this recipe provides plenty.

I so appreciate your generosity in sharing all these delightful recipes and photographing them in a way that makes me want to run to the kitchen and bake. You're the best!



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