Fall is here! It’s time to break out the flannel shirts and SOCKS (always one of my favorite things about the return to colder weather) and more importantly, it’s finally cool enough to get back in the kitchen and turn on the oven.
The first thing I’ll be making are these Harvest Pear & Ginger Muffins. The quintessential fall muffin, they are moist and packed with spices- ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom- along with chunks of pear, golden raisins and crystallized ginger for a little extra zing.
A great tip I learned from Ina is that adding a generous splash of the right liqueur, or in this case, liquor, can really enhance the flavor in a baked good or dessert. Warming up the pears and raisins in bourbon plumps up the raisins and makes the pears even juicier, and what’s a fall treat without a little bourbon?
Thanks to the Greek yogurt and molasses in the batter, these muffins are incredibly moist, BUT as with any muffin or cake recipe, it’s crucial not to overmix the batter (you’ll end up with tough muffins) or overbake (the muffins will be dry.) So basically, do less, and you’ll do great!
Finally, like avocados, pears tend to be rock hard at the grocery store, so find the ripest ones you can, and let them sit on the counter for a day or two if possible. I found that Bartlett pears (red Bartlett pears are beautiful if you can find them) work the best for this recipe, but ripeness is more important than variety here.
Harvest Pear & Ginger Muffins
- 1 1/2 cups diced Bartlett pear (2 small)
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup bourbon
- 7 ounces whole-milk Greek yogurt, such as Fage
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/3 cup minced dried crystallized ginger, plus extra for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place 12 paper liners in a standard muffin pan.
- Combine the pears, raisins and bourbon in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer, remove from heat and set aside. (Alternatively, combine the pears, raisins and bourbon in a small bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds and set aside.)
- In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, molasses, honey, egg and vanilla and whisk until combined. Add the raisins and pears (with the extra liquid), and the crystallized ginger, and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and 1/3 cup crystallized ginger. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Don’t over-mix!
- Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup almost to the top. Sprinkle each muffin with a little crystallized ginger and bake for about 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for five minutes, then remove muffins from the pan. Repeat with remaining muffin batter.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.