Reminiscent of applesauce cake, these uber-moist pear muffins with a touch of spice and a crunchy oat topping are a sweet breakfast treat—and a great way to use up those too bruised or over-ripe pears.
As is the case with applesauce cake, the pears in these muffins offer less in the way of flavor than they do in the way of texture, and the tender soft texture of these muffins is pure delight. The addition of a slightly crunchy, buttery oat streusel topping takes what might otherwise be a bit of a bland baked good into the realm of repeat…as in, I’ll definitely be making these simple and delicious pear muffins again and again.
pear spice muffins with oat streusel topping
[for the oat streusel]
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted*
*if using salted butter, reduce salt to 1/8 teaspoon
[for the muffins]
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups grated peeled pear (from about 3-4 ripe pears, any variety)
special equipment: 12-capacity muffin/cupcake pan, 12 5x5-inch squares of parchment paper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you haven’t done so already, cut your parchment paper into 12 5x5-inch squares. See note.
Make the oat streusel. In a small bowl, whisk together oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Drizzle melted butter over mixture, and then toss with a fork to combine. Set aside.
Make the muffin batter. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, oil, vanilla and grated pear. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients all at once, and then stir until just combined.
Center one 5x5-inch square of parchment paper over a muffin cup, then push down with your index finger. Use your fingers to push out and press the parchment against the bottom and sides of the muffin cup (you can be more deliberate and create four distinct folds, or you can go for the rustic look, as I did, and just sort of scrunch the parchment paper to mold the inside of the cup). Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the parchment paper cup. Repeat process for the remaining 11 cups, dividing the batter evenly.
Sprinkle oat streusel over the tops of all the muffins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the muffins turn a golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Enjoy!
parchment liners: you can swap out the homemade parchment paper liners with regular muffin/cupcake liners, but here’s the thing: the parchment paper liners give the cups more height, and keep the batter from spilling over into “muffin tops.” I haven’t tried this recipe with regular muffin liners (or with a greased tin sans liners), so I’m not sure exactly how much spillage there will be if you divide the batter into an even twelve and let them spill over into muffin tops. If you are worried and want to be on the safe side, I suggest you fill your liners about 2/3 full, and simply make more, smaller muffins.
grating pears: It’s a little tricky to peel a very ripe or bruised pear, because they are so soft, but just do your best. I found it easy to keep the peeled pears whole, stem and all, and simply grate one side to the core, then rotate 90 degrees, and grate down to the core, and continue for all four sides. The more ripe/bruised pears created a sort of mushy paste more than a distinct grate, but just scoop that up and measure it out and it will all be fine.
Muffin base inspired by the Joy of Cooking’s Pecan Pear Bread.