Pears are tricky.
Like bananas, pears are at their best for a very specific window of time. Try to eat one before it’s ready, and your teeth and tongue will fight a losing battle against that tart, hard rock of a fruit.
Let your unyielding pear sit out on your counter for a few days to mellow, and mellow it will. If you catch that pear at the peak of its ripening, you’ll be rewarded with bite after juicy bite of pear perfection. Your hands and face will be rendered a moist mess with every nibble of that soft, sweet fruit, and you’ll gnaw away every little scrap of pear until all you have left in your hands is a sticky, skinny core.
Let that perfectly ripe pear sit out on your counter for a few more days, and….well, you’ll have a mess.
My pear problem started three weeks ago when the Athens Earth Fare emailed me a coupon for one free pound of organic red Bartlett pears with a five dollar purchase. I printed two, one for me and one for Micah, and our regular grocery trip later that week earned us two free pounds of rock-hard pears.
Another week passed, and those babies were perfect. I took some to school the next week, which made for a delicious (albeit sticky) addition to my lunchbox.
And then we were out of town all last weekend for Jessica’s wedding, so the last four pears sat on our kitchen counter for about a week longer than they really should’ve.
When we came home, one moldy pear got a one-way ticket to our compost pile. The other three were pretty mushy–too soft to pack in a lunchbox, or slice for a snack, or bake into a pie–but not quite rotten yet.
What to do with too-far-gone fruit? Make muffins, of course! (Good timing, too, since we were about to eat our last two crumbly granola bars. :))
What’s in it:
- For the muffins:
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 overripe pears, mashed
- 3 dates, pitted and finely chopped
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten (I actually used 5 egg whites that I had leftover from making pastry cream)
- For the topping:
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 3-4 tablespoons rolled oats (I tackled mine with the mini-chopper, just to make them a little finer)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Preheat your oven to 425°F and get a 12-cup muffin pan ready with cooking spray or paper liners.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 1 cup oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and 1/4 cup brown sugar.
- Add the pears, dates, and eggs. Stir until just combined.
- Divide the batter among your 12 muffin cups.
- In a small bowl, mix together the pecans, oats, and brown sugar for your topping.
- Sprinkle the topping evenly over the muffins. You’ll probably have enough to pretty much completely cover each muffin. (At this point, I also lightly pressed the topping into the batter to hopefully prevent it from all falling off.)
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, then let cool.
Not only are they extra moist and juicy from all that fruit, but because I mashed the pears instead of pureeing them, the muffins also have some nice chunks of fruit inside them. The cinnamon and dates give these sweet treats a warm, cozy flavor, and the oats and nuts in the topping are nice and toasty and crunchy.
This is definitely one of my favorite batches of muffins so far!