December 15, 2013

Pumpkin Muffins and Pear Muffins

I’m picky about muffins.  Many times they’re too big, or too crumbly or too fruit filled or too sweet.  And I’ve yet to find a bran muffin that doesn’t have raisins in it; I’m not a fan of cooked raisins.  I like making muffins at home where I can control the size and what goes in ‘em.  Recently I made pumpkin muffins out of a sugar pumpkin that I baked and pureed.  The muffins came out of the oven all moist and soft with a bit of crunch from the pepitas that I sprinkled on top.  Recently, Alan’s dad sent us the gift of pears, so I used a couple of those to make pear muffins using the same recipe, and I topped them with some candied ginger that I made.

Um, so when I made the pear muffins, I was supposed to replace the 1 cup of pumpkin puree with 1 cup of chunky pear puree but I forgot to measure the pear puree and ended up adding almost 2 cups.  I thought I would end up with soupy muffins, but they came out incredibly moist and the ginger on top added nice texture, spiciness and sweetness.  So, don’t worry if you add a little more puree than you’re supposed to.

 Makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin purée OR pear puree/chunks
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pepitas, for sprinkling on pumpkin muffins (optional)
Candied ginger, for sprinkling on pear muffins (optional)

* To make pumpkin purée, cut a pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, put the halves face down on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 minutes to an hour. Let it cool and scoop out the flesh. Blend in a food processor until smooth.

 * To make the pear puree, peel and core 2 anjou pears and either chop the pear into a tiny dice or pulse it in a food processor until it turns into a chunky puree.  Or you can do a combination of puree and diced pear if you like chunks of fruit in your muffins.

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.

2.  Mix the pumpkin (or pear puree/chunks), oil, eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but don’t mix the batter too thoroughly.

3.  Pour the batter into a muffin tin and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the very center of a muffin comes out clean.  Eat one while nice and warm and save the rest for later.

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