Wednesday, 4 July 2012

earl grey pear muffins

cross-section of an earl grey pear muffin.

The beauty of making do with what you have, and using up stuff in the pantry, is the surprisingly fancy combinations this frugal activity can inspire. The following recipe is a result of putting two and two together: cheap beurre bosc pears from the market and earl grey tea bags nearing their expiration date. My baking adventures suddenly sound that much more sophisticated.

Exhibit A:

Simon: What're you baking?
Me: Earl grey pear muffins.
Simon: Sounds a bit pretentious, doesn't it?

I rest my case.

Forget about winning prestige points on the name alone, though, the muffins did actually live up to my expectations. The pears, delicately infused with a buttery earl grey broth, radiate with a warm complexity. Likewise, the batter takes in soft, sensual hints of the bergamot, black tea, and pear flavours, then diffuses them gently to the muffin-eater.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Simon couldn't get enough of my pretentious muffins.

Exhibit B:

Simon (taking a bite): So how many did you make?
Me: Six.
Simon: So that means I can have six muffins, right? Do I get six muffins?

Again, I rest my case.

with their russet-and-gold appearance, beurre bosc pears exude romance and charm.

earl grey pear muffins
(makes 6)


3 earl grey tea bags, or 3 teaspoons loose leaf earl grey tea
1/2 cup freshly boiled hot water
2 pears (300g / 2/3lb total ±5%) peeled, cored, and chopped into 1.5cm / 0.5 inch cubes
1/4 cup salted butter, plus more for greasing
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/4 cup raw sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder

Pre-heat oven to 180°C (360°F) fan-forced, or 200°C (390°F) regular.
Steep earl grey tea in freshly boiled hot water for at least 5 minutes. Once they are thoroughly steeped, remove the tea. If using tea bags, diligently squeeze the bags so you get as much of the tea infusion as possible.
Simmer pear cubes with earl grey tea and butter over a low medium heat for 5 minutes or until just tender. Let it cool slightly.
Set aside half the pear cubes, and puree the remaining mixture of pear cubes, earl grey and melted butter.
Stir together pear cubes and buttery earl grey pear puree.
Place flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl and make a well in the centre.
Pour the pear mixture into the centre of the bowl and stir gently a few times until the wet and dry ingredients just combine to create a thick batter.
Divide batter evenly amongst 6 lightly greased muffin cases.
Bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes or until a light earthy brown.
Let the muffins cool slightly for about 10 minutes, then serve. They're best eaten warm.

If you have a very fine-textured whole-wheat flour like atta flour, feel free to substitute 1 cup in lieu of the 1/2 cup plain, 1/2 cup wholemeal mix.
Substitute butter with a vegan spread e.g. Nuttelex, Earth Balance etc. for vegan muffins.


earl grey pear muffins, warm from the oven.

49 comments:

  1. Simon sounds just like my boyfriend! I told him to help himself to some homemade croissants once and arrived home to find he'd eaten all 6! Luckily I had some in the freezer too :-)

    I don't drink earl grey tea but I love it in desserts and these look delicious! Had earl grey ice cream at a restaurant recently which was a complete revelation.

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    1. Ha, yes! Boyfriends, tsk tsk...

      Earl grey is indeed gorgeous in desserts. I've heard about earl grey ice cream - I can imagine how beautiful it tastes and it's definitely something I want to try someday.

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  2. Earl grey anything just sounds so good! I have a huge box of those teabags, I might just start with the muffins.....

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    1. The inclusion of earl grey does really seem to add a little something something, doesn't it!

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  3. I had no idea tea could go bad. I suppose I don't need to worry, at the rate I drink it.

    I've made earl grey cookies many times, so I see no reason not to expand its presence in my baking repertoire. It does sound a bit pretentious, which I kind of adore:)

    Love that pear photo!

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    1. Tea would last way past their expiry date if you keep them well, I'd imagine. Hmmm, I should try earl grey cookies next. Bring on the pretentiousness! ;) P.S. The pears do look ever so sensuous, don't they?

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  4. Earl Grey tea has always been my favorite, and your muffins look insanely moist.

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    1. Thank you! They were moist with a nice crumb, if I do say so myself. ;)

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  5. These muffins look so delicious my friend - love the combo of earl grey with pears :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. It turned out to be a very nice combo, to be sure. :D

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  6. Ohhh, I was looking at my slightly aged pears this morning wondering what to do with them ... I do believe they will become muffins this weekend!

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    1. Oh, do let me know how it goes if you end up trying it!

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  7. He can't be serious about eating all 6 muffins!

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    1. Ha, actually, he would've if I'd let him. They weren't very big muffins, and when he likes something he does tend to go back to it again and again. Fair's fair, though, we had 3 each. ;)

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  8. I love the smugness that comes with resting your case. Not something I get to experience very often though—the man of my household is one of the pickiest eaters I know!

    Earl Grey anything is lovely. Very resourceful, Leaf. :)

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    1. Thanks, Linda. I'm definitely interested in cooking with earl grey tea again! My man isn't so much picky, but it does sometimes surprise me what he likes or doesn't like. We definitely don't always see eye to eye! We definitely both enjoyed these muffins though. :D

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  9. Well played, friend, well played. Earl Grey itself makes my stomach twitch (it's the orange notes, I think), but I can foresee being equally pretentious with another flavour of tea. Perhaps even more pretentious... Rooibos, anyone? ;)

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    1. Is Rooibos pretentious?? I drink it cos it's caffeine free... nooooo!!!

      Lovely post, by the way, Leaf. :)

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    2. Oh, I love Rooibos! If that's pretentious, bring on the pretentiousness. Bring IT.

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  10. Really great flavour combination Leaf! These are so not pretentious - just very dainty!

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  11. What a fabulous idea. Love the combination of ingredients here and your muffins look delish (the shot of the pears is gorgeous!)

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    1. Thank you! I did have very photogenic subjects in those pears. :)

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  12. They look fabulous and I wholeheartedly think you should use what you have in the pantry. I use it as a little personal pressure test

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    1. Ah, love the little personal pressure test! Kind of an invention test too, really. :D

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  13. I must have one of these! Gosh it looks good and sounds fantastic.

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  14. This will be a lovely recipe to prepare when the pears in my orchard ripen.

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  15. Haha, I wish Brad was as enthusiastic about me baking, but he's not so much of a sweet tooth. This sounds like a lovely combination to have for afternoon tea...with a cup of tea!

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    1. I think it might go nicely with a mug of milk, too. :D

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  16. These definitely look good enough to eat 6 of ;) I love things infused with tea flavours, makes them taste so refined and deep...mmmm....
    I love making do with what I have in the pantry too :D

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    1. So true about tea imparting extra depth to food. And yay for celebrating the usefulness of neglected pantry items! :D

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  17. Hahaha! Not too pretentious to finish off all the muffins, is he?? A great testament to your baking skills! These look gorgeous.

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    1. It did turn out that the pretentious-sounding muffins were quite perfect for a man with down-to-earth sensibilities. ;)

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  18. Wow what a wonderful combination love the combo of tea + pear :) yum!

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  19. I HAVE to try your recipe now, I could never bake without a recipe because I never know how much of each ingredient to use. Still quite new to baking so really admire people who can put things together and bake as perfectly as this. YUMMY! And beurre bosc pears are my FAVOURITE pears. I was eating like 2 pairs a day for 3 weeks (while studying for exams) and trying out a variety and still enjoyed them the most. And the fact that they're so darn cheap makes it uber win. I sure hope it's still in season by the time I get back at the end of the month. Hey hey I'm still really keen to try Movida Bakery I look you up when I do okay, your post on it is still super fresh in my mind =]

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    1. Not all my haphazard baking adventures come out a success! I'm glad this one did. :D Beurre bosc pears really are lovely, aren't they. And yes, look me up if you're in the neighbourhood!

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  20. There is nothing pretentious about these! They sound amazing and I love the sound of the combination! Yay!

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    1. Thanks! Ha, and they look a little too rustic to be pretentious, anyway. ;)

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  21. I've stumbled across several blog posts that include tea in baking this morning. It's a lovely diversion from the norm. Lovely recipe. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Thanks for dropping by! Tea can be a very nice addition to baked goods I must say. :)

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  22. LOL!! put Earl Grey before anything and it sounds posh :P I LOVE earl grey and will be making six of these muffins are sharing them :P

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    1. Ha, exactly! Hurrah for posh earl grey treats!

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  23. So, it took me a bit longer than I thought to get around to it (love it when migraines knock out a whole weekend!) BUT I finally made them and they are delicious!!! Unfortunately/fortunately my husband wasn't so keen, although I'm not entirely surprised as he doesn't like either pears or tea, which has left me to get through a whole dozen on my own :)

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    1. Oh, thank you so much for the update! Sorry to hear that you had a bad migraine. Glad that you have recovered now and so happy that you enjoyed the muffins! It does seem like quite a feminine dessert (obviously making a rather subjective generalisation here), and I was pleasantly surprised that Simon liked it. Good thing you can eat them for the both of you. ;)

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