The result? A batch of yummy yet unusual muffins. To make these I followed a recipe for basic sweet muffins, added in some cocoa, and used pureed pears instead of buttermilk. After putting the batter into the muffin tin holes, I pushed half a square of dark chocolate into the centre, and made sure it was (only just) covered by the batter (I used my fingers to spead the batter over the chocolate, and then licked my fingers clean...).
These are not very sweet muffins: the pear taste is subtle, but the lump of dark choclate is absolutely heavenly. Ommiting the cocoa and using spices (maybe cinnamon and cloves) would probably be just as yummy. Hmm, might try that next time... Here's the recipe:
Pear and Chocolate Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
300g (10oz) self-raising flour
2 Tbspns cocoa
125g (4oz) castor sugar (I used normal white sugar, having no castor, though raw or brown sugar would probably compliment the pears really nicely)
1 1/2 cups (375ml, 12 fl oz) pear puree (about 3 ripe pears, cored and chopped-I left the skin on)
150g (5oz) butter, softened a fair bit
6 squares of dark chocolate, each chopped in half (0r, if the square are little, 12 whole squares)
1. Heat oven to 200C (400F, gas mark 6). Grease a 12 hole muffin tin. Sift the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the centre.
2. Puree pears (if not already done). Add in the eggs, one at a time, blending them in, and then blend in the softened butter. Make sure the mixture is quite smooth.
3. Add the pear mixture to the dry ingredients, and mix gently to combine. DO NOT over-mix, or your muffins will end up tough and springy. The batter should be lumpy.
4. Spoon the batter into the muffin holes. Push a bit of chocolate into each muffin, and then stick it in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until risen and golden and beginning to come away from the side of the tin.
Mmmmm... yummy. These were so moist. I think using fruit puree instead of buttermilk is genius, and can't wait until I have some more overripe fruit!! (Hopefully strawberries... !)