PEAR

20140312-203710.jpgI always love the idea of pears more than I actually like pears. By which I mean, I love the mottled look of them - always like a French still life - and I love that they're so much juicier and more refined than an apple. But I've had too many bruised, or too firm, or just plain floury to be singing their praises all that much. When it comes to poaching them or baking them, however, I'm all about pears. And these beauties were a lovely way to work them back into my diet after a summer of mangoes. I found the recipe over on Sprouted Kitchen and the winning combination of pear, oats and hazelnut had me bookmarking it straight up. Then I saw the buttermilk and knew I was quite at home.

I made them last week and they didn't last long. I ended up using a little spelt flour instead of pastry flour (because it was what I had), and was happy with the taste. And I couldn't find the cardamom so left it out too. My only issues was that my muffins came out a little dry. I think I'd increase the buttermilk next time around by at least another quarter cup.

PEAR, OAT AND HAZELNUT MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS * 3/4 cup of oats * 1 cup of plain flour * 1/2 cup of spell flour * 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda * 2 teaspoons of baking powder * 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon * 1/2 ground nutmeg * pinch of salt * 2 pears, grated * half a cup of brown sugar * 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter * 1 cup of buttermilk * 2 eggs, beaten * 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract * 1 cup of hazelnuts, lightly roasted and chopped

METHOD Pre-heat the oven to 180 or so and grease a muffin tin (I didn't use paper cases, and had no trouble with the batter sticking). In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flours, baking powder and soda, spices and salt and mix together. I used my Kitchen Aid to mix the soft butter and sugar to a smooth paste, then added the pear, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Fold in the flour mix gradually and stir well until combined. Add in 2/3 of the hazelnuts to the mix and spoon into the tin, then top with the remaining hazelnuts. Bake for about 25 minute and allow to cool a little in the pan before removing.

I took mine to work to share with friends and we smothered them in butter, drank tea and avoided emails for a good ten minutes.