I never used to be a huge fan of muffins, probably as a result of some disappointing experiences from cafés. But since purchasing some heart-shaped silicone muffin molds during a trip to Taipei, and coming across an irresistible combination of pear and ginger in a Nigella recipe, I have made these muffins countless times.
This recipe is based on Pear and Ginger Muffins, from Nigella Express. As much as I love her recipes, I cannot in good conscience use the amount of sugar and oil that she stipulates. If you want the original Nigella experience, then use 150 g caster sugar, 75 g light brown sugar, and 125 ml oil. It makes 12 standard size muffins.
Oh, and one more thing – I have occasionally used tinned pears to no detrimental effects… but I would recommend pears tinned in juice (not syrup). If using fresh pears, while it’s optional to peel, I strongly urge that you do so, because the best part about these muffins (and I quote Nigella here) is ‘the way the juicy fruit merges with the crumb’. Heavenly in the winter time, or pear season.
250 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
75 g caster sugar
35 g light brown sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tsp ground ginger
1 small pot of sour cream (these are usually 120-150 g, I don’t measure and just put the whole pot in; fine to use low-fat)
100 ml vegetable oil (I prefer grapeseed)
1 tbs honey
1 large pear (to give ~300 g fruit), diced
- Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease and line the muffin tray, although I skip this part if using silicone trays.
- Measure flour, baking powder, both sugars, and and ground ginger into a bowl, mix well and break up any brown sugar lumps.
- In a large measuring jug, whisk together the sour cream, oil, honey, and eggs. Fold into the dry ingredients (bearing in mind that over-mixing results in brick-hard muffins).
- Mix in the diced pear, and spoon the batter into the muffin tray.
- Sprinkle a little brown sugar on the tops, and bake for 20 min. Don’t even try to resist eating one while still warm – they are at their best then.
I am not sure what I like the most: the delicious combination of flavours, the complimentary blend of the light, crumbly muffin with the soft pear textures, the cute heart shapes, or the fact that I can be eating muffins easily within 30 minutes (that’s including the washing up!)… most likely it’s all these things. I am rather pleased that muffins and I have reconciled (although I am still a bit wary of café muffins). After all, muffins are little cakes, and what’s not to like about cake?
Updated on 01/03/2014
Since acquiring my standard round muffin tray, I had to make these again. Instead of sprinkling brown sugar on top, I used raw brown sugar crystals for a crunchy top. I had run out of ground ginger, so I added in some fresh minced ginger and ground nutmeg. And I tried a muffin with a bit of cheese (as suggested in Nigella’s book). I know the photo doesn’t look like much, but I hope you won’t let looks be deceiving and try to make these muffin,s as they are truly delicious! I haven’t yet tried it, but I’m sure a good substitution for the pear and ginger would be apple and cinnamon.
Updated on 07/08/2014
I made a batch of these as a gift – thought I’d share the photo.