I come from a family that loves spending time in the kitchen. Growing up we rarely had take-out meals, instead enjoying a fresh home cooked meal most nights of the week. I realize now how spoiled I was to have grown up that way, but I’m so grateful I did because it instilled in me this great love for food and cooking. Now whenever I go back home to visit my family, we continue the tradition of cooking and eating together. I, of course, love baking the most, and my parents are both really good at creating savory dishes (though my Mom’s a great baker as well, can’t discount that!), so we often have the perfect balance of sweet and savory dishes to go around.
When I bake at home, I often seek input from my parents or extended family – whoever’s going to be enjoying whatever I create. My Dad is very agreeable and is generally happy to sample whatever I bake, but my Mom always asks for the same flavors – lemon, fruit, ginger. These muffins were inspired by a bakery favorite we’ll often get from a bakery near where my parents live. The famed Pear Ginger Muffins have a wonderful texture – very dense but not heavy, flavorful and moist, with an earthy ginger flavor coming at you from all directions. I always wondered how they achieved such a perfect texture, but found that I was able to get pretty close with this recipe.
The key is rolled oats. When baked into this batter, they expand and absorb lots of the liquid and flavor, which breaks down their structure a bit, and gives the muffins a really nice texture and chew. I roasted the pears before folding them in, which helped to seal in a lot of their sweetness and moisture, and I was really pleased with how well they stood up, and how great they tasted, in the final product. I also opted to use several layers of ginger flavor, because honestly, I LOVE ginger (and so does Mom!).
A quick sprinkle of sugar over top of the muffins gave them their nice crispy tops – a muffin feature I am obsessed with and have started doing every time I bake them. I love all parts of muffins, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit the tops are ALWAYS my favorite.
While these aren’t the prettiest muffins you’ll ever make, they are seriously some of the most delicious. If you like pears, or ginger, or muffins – and especially all three – you should go bake them this weekend! You won’t regret it.
*You can use your favorite type of pear here. For this recipe, I used Barlett Pears.