Yesterday morning I took mum out for breakfast before we headed out to do some shopping. As we sat down to look at the amazing menu of a new local cafe, mum looked up and said “You know, I’m actually not that hungry.” I replied “Me neither. We might have to come back and try something next time”. So we each opted for coffee and a muffin instead. The muffin was better than most cafe muffins … light, fairly moist, although lacking a little in the fruit department (it was banana and coconut). When we had finished mum declared “This was good but I prefer your muffins”.
This made me realise just how long it has been since I made normal muffins. By normal, I mean not high protein, macro-friendly, gluten-free, sugar-free, or muffins to suit any other specific dietary requirement. Just muffins. Like they were meant to be … and yes, I used to make damn fine muffins 😜
So I made some damn fine muffins. Damn fine pear and olive oil muffins because I had a few beautiful ripe new season Williams pears in the fruit bowl. I love pears and nothing beats a ripe new season Williams pear for sweet juicy deliciousness. If you’re in North America you may know these as Bartlett pears.
That moment when they turn golden and don’t have any bruising or black spots. That’s what I look for. I love them most with a piece of aged Grana Padano cheese and some crusty bread. But they are amazing in a cake, on a tart, or in muffins.
These are a nod to the classic yoghurt and olive oil cake but in muffin form. The texture is moist and light with a tender crumb.
To make them extra special, add some chopped up dark chocolate. You can also use apples or stone fruits such as plums or peaches, when in season.
I still have to revisit my new local cafe to try that menu though. The coffee was excellent 😍
If you’d like to check out some damn fine muffins I published years ago in The Age newspaper’s Epicure section, you can find them here.
But do make these.
These muffins are somewhat inspired by the classic yoghurt and olive oil cake. The extra virgin olive oil adds a little extra fruitiness but is extremely subtle. The texture of these muffins is super moist and light. Do use raw sugar for these if you can. They are even better with some extra raw sugar sprinkled on top of each muffin before baking.
These muffins are also amazing with apples instead of pears, or ripe stonefruits such as plums or peaches. Make them more decadent by adding some chopped good quality dark chocolate. They are amazing when still warm and the chocolate is still melted.
255 grams (9.1 oz) wholewheat or white plain flour
125 grams (4.5 oz) raw sugar
2 level teaspoons baking powder
0.5 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
zest of 1 medium orange, finely grated
56 grams (2 oz) whole egg
225 grams (8 oz) Greek yoghurt
100 grams (3.6 oz) milk
60 grams (2.1 oz) extra virgin olive oil
280 grams (10 oz or 2 medium) diced Williams pear
Preheat the oven to 200C (392F).
Brush a 12-cup muffin tin with olive oil and set aside. Alternatively, line the muffin tin with muffin (cupcake) liners or use a silicon mould. Set aside.
Weigh and measure out all your ingredients, except the pears.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, raw sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and orange zest, and stir with a fork to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, Greek yoghurt, milk, and olive oil.
Cut the pears into quarters and remove the core and stem. Dice the pear flesh and measure out about 280 grams (10 ounces).
Add the diced pear to the flour mixture and toss to coat the fruit pieces well.
Make a small well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture.
Use a fork to stir until just combined. The batter should still be lumpy.
Do not beat or overmix the batter.
Divide equally between the prepared muffin tins.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until well risen and golden.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, on a wire rack, before removing.
Store leftovers in an airtight container for two to three days or wrap individually and freeze for longer storage.