Choose firm, ripe pears with a buttery texture and sweet perfume, such as French Butter, Comice, Warren or Bartlett, for these muffins, perfect for a lazy winter weekend.
Butter for greasing
For the topping:
3 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. finely chopped walnuts
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
For the muffins:
2 cups (10 oz./315 g) flour
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) canola oil
3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 or 5 firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup (4 oz./125 g) walnuts, coarsely chopped
Butter, slightly softened, for serving
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a large 6-cup muffin pan or regular 12-cup muffin pan with butter.
To make the topping, combine the sugar, walnuts and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
To make the muffins, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla until blended. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Using a large silicone spatula, gently fold in the pears and walnuts just until evenly distributed, no more than a few strokes. Take care not to break up the fruit or overmix.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them level with the rim. Sprinkle the muffins with the topping, dividing it evenly. Bake until golden, dry and springy to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. A wooden skewer inserted into the center of a muffin should come out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Turn out the muffins. Serve warm or at room temperature, with butter. Makes 6 large muffins or 12 regular muffins.
For this and other recipes perfect for anyone who loves to entertain, check out
Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook, by Gayle Pirie & John Clark