Strawberries mean it is June – the first fruit we see in the Northwest, and they are precious.
July is for raspberries.
Through August and into September, peaches come. Each week at the farmers market, they have a different variety – each with its own flavour to juiciness to peelability ratios (what? it’s a living language). I cannot get enough of them. They are the fragrance and taste of summer to me.
Then, when the days are shorter, and most of what is at the market is either green and leafy or tuberous and knobby, there is one more special fruit treat. (Well, there are apples too, and I like apples, but they are ubiquitous enough to not feel as much like a treat.)
Oh, fragrant, tender pears.
Bartlett pears are my favourite – they come off the tree green and solid, and then in the wave of an autumn faerie’s wing, they turn lemony yellow, the flesh runs nearly as juicy as a summer peach, and each tender slice yields a fragrance like mountain wildflower grasses.
I know. It’s the pears. They do it to me.
Tea posted a pear muffin recipe in the midst of the pear abundance. A week later, when I had my own box of rapidly ripening pears, I made a gluten-free version while the first five pounds of slices were in the dehydrator.
Yep, the dehydrator. Stretchy pear slices taste really good in January – and they still have that delicious pear fragrance, a welcome thing when summer seems impossibly far away.
I think I must have unusually small muffin cups. No, that wasn’t a euphemism.
Most muffin recipes more than fill the cups, spilling over the top and making a mess on the pan which I grumble about and leave in the sink for too long, um… soaking.
And with Kristina away at college, the muffins just don’t get eaten as quickly as they should. (Muffins are really best that day or maybe the next day.) So, I’ve taken to halving recipes. Even with halving this one, it made 8 decent-size muffins.)
I put some in pretty parchment paper wrappers like Tea’s, and some in the bright silicon muffin cups my sister gave me. Either way is fine. The paper wrappers are a little easier to transport – no need to stow gooey silicon to bring back home.
So, here is my gluten-free version, which is half of Tea’s version, of Sophie Dahl’s pear muffins.
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
a few scrapes of freshly grated nutmeg
78 grams of gluten-free flour blend
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup pear puree (mash a softer pear)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup honey + 1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 firm pear, peeled, cored, and cut into small dice (I used the other half sliced for topping the muffins)
1/4 cup crystallised ginger, chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins (I used a heaping measure here)
Preheat oven to 350 (mine is convection – Tea did hers at 375)
Into a medium mixing bowl, sift the powdery dry ingredients, and then add the oats. Stir to blend and make a well in the middle.
Add the yogurt, pear puree, and the honey/maple syrup to the dry mixture.
Stir to combine.
Lightly beat the egg whites until they are foamy and hold a bit of their shape. Add the egg whites and gently fold into the batter.
Add the diced pear, ginger, and raisins. Mix briefly.
Scoop the batter into muffin tins lined or greased however you like best. Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way. Bake for 20 mins if convection, 25-30 for regular oven.
The tops of the muffins will brown nicely, and the insides will remain tender and moist. If you’ve used pear slices for a decorative topping, these will be a good indicator of done-ness. Enjoy.
**Note to self: post on that gluten-free flour blend, sometime soon. Done.