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Pear-Ginger Muffins

Chunks of fresh pear punctuate these flavorful muffins enlivened with the spicy zing of fresh, ground and crystallized ginger. You can use pears that are still slightly firm, as they will keep their shape nicely. Use a firm variety such as Bartlett, Bosc or Anjou. It is easy to remove the skin of fresh ginger with a vegetable peeler, and then grate the flesh on the fine rasps of a grater.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 Tbs. peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped, peeled pear (about 1 large)

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 425°F. Butter 12 standard muffin cups or line with paper liners.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, ground ginger, fresh ginger and 1/3 cup of the crystallized ginger. Set aside.

To make the batter by hand, in a bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. Stir in the milk and butter. Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula just until moistened. Fold in the pear. Do not overmix.

To make the batter with an electric mixer, in a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk and butter and beat on low speed just until blended. Add the flour mixture and beat just until moistened. Fold in the pear. Do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about three-fourths full. Sprinkle the remaining crystallized ginger evenly over the tops.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 2 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan and let cool completely. Serve warm. The muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Baking, by Cathy Burgett, Elinor Klivans & Lou Seibert Pappas (Oxmoor House, 2003).