Spiced Pear and Oatmeal Muffins

Spiced Pear and Oatmeal Muffins

It is pear season. While apples seem to get more attention, pears are a wonderful, versatile fruit.

Pears will ripen off the tree and are often picked unripe and allowed to ripen after harvest. Unlike a lot of other fruits, pears do not suffer from being picked before they are ripe. As they ripen, pears become very sweet.

I like to pick out both ripe and unripe pears at the local market. That way, I’ll have ripe pears over a longer period of time.

I had some ripe pears and wanted to do something with them. Since I had a friend coming for over breakfast, I thought muffins. It’s always nice to have an easy breakfast option on hand.

I started with a basic muffin recipe, and added some diced pears, cinnamon, orange zest, nutmeg  and a cinnamon sugar topping, to make them special. And yes, you could substitute apples for the pears!!!

I was really happy with how they turned out. Not overly sweet, moist and tender.  Here is the recipe.

Spiced Pear and Oatmeal Muffins

1 ½ c. flour
1 c. rolled oats
1 T. grated orange peel
2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
½ t.  each nutmeg and salt
½ t. baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1/3 c. honey
1/3 c. oil
¼ c. orange juice
1½ cups of peeled, diced pears – 2 or 3 pears should do it
2 T. melted butter, optional
cinnamon sugar, optional

Combine flour with the dry ingredients. Set aside. Combine egg with the honey, oil and juice. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until flour is just moistened. Fold in pears. Batter will be thick. Divide batter among 12 greased muffin cups. Bake in a preheated 375- degree oven for 20-25 minutes. While the muffins are warm, dip tops in melted butter and then dip in the cinnamon sugar, if you like. They are tasty, with or without the cinnamon sugar topping, but I like to add this last step. Makes 12.

Cinnamon Pear Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Pear Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Pear Coffee Cake

This pear-studded cake is perfect to have with that morning cup of coffee- or for dessert. The tender cake is topped with a lot of pears, cubes of cream cheese, cinnamon sugar and a vanilla glaze. The taste is amazing. I used Bartlett pears, but any ripe pear would work. The 4 pears weighed about 2 pounds.

I will say up front that this is not the most photogenic cake out there. It comes out of the oven kind of lumpy, from all those pears and the tiny cubes of cream cheese. Once you top it with the cinnamon sugar, and later the glaze, it looks a lot better. It is one of the tastiest, though, and isn’t that what’s important?

So if you want to enjoy one of my favorite Autumn fruits in a new way- try making this simple, tasty pear coffee cake. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Cinnamon Pear Coffee Cake

1 stick (½ cup) butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 c. half and half

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. sugar

2 t. baking powder

2 t. cinnamon

1 t. vanilla

½ t. salt

2 lbs. pears, about 4 large, cored, peeled and sliced *

8 oz. cream cheese, cut in small pieces


3 T. cinnamon sugar


½ c. powdered sugar

1-2 T. milk

½ t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and pour into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, half and half, flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla  and salt. Pour directly over the butter in the baking dish, but do not stir. Drain pears well. Add the pears, arranging in a single layer as much as possible. Sprinkle cream cheese pieces over fruit. Place in preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until top is golden brown and edges are bubbling. When you remove the cake from the oven, sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Set cake aside to cool.  Make glaze by combining glaze ingredients. Add just enough milk for a nice consistency for drizzling. Drizzle over cooled cake. Store leftovers in fridge. Serves 12.

* To keep pears from discoloring place in a bowl with 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Duck with Pear Ginger Sauce

Duck with Pear Ginger Sauce

Duck with Pear Ginger Sauce

I love the way duck tastes when served with pears. Duck, with its dark, rich meat really works well with all sorts of fruit. I’ve made sauces and glazes for duck from cherries, prunes, mangoes, peaches and of course, oranges. Since I had several very ripe pears and a duck I was roasting I thought I’d try them together. Oh yum!!


I made a simple sauce out of the pears. I peeled them and diced them and put them in a small saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar, about 1/4 cup of cider vinegar, some salt and pepper and a healthy splash of hot sauce. It needed something so I added about a teaspoon and half of grated ginger. That was the missing ingredient. It gave the sauce a nice bite. I simmered the sauce for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking. The pears were just starting to fall apart. When the duck was ready to serve I warmed up the sauce and spooned some on the plate.

To roast the duck: Let me say this was a locally grown duck so not as fatty as ducks I get at the grocery store. For the very fatty ducks you need to score the skin and trim off extra fat. If you don’t the skin won’t get crispy and isn’t very appetizing.  Still, I wanted a nice high heat to crisp up the skin. I placed it on a rack in a roasting pan. I did cut up an onion and a small orange and placed them in the cavity. Sprinkled generously with salt and pepper and placed the duck in a preheated 450 degree oven for 15 minutes. Then I turned the heat down to 425 until the duck was done. In this case, it was a smallish duck and cooked in about 65 minutes. It is OK if the duck meat is a little pink. Kind of preferred a little pink by most, but cook it to your own comfort level. Let duck rest 10-15 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.

Right out of the oven

Right out of the oven

Cabbage with Apples and Pears

Cabbage with Apples and Pears

Cabbage with Apples and Pears

I really do like cabbage. I think it gets overshadowed by its botanical cousins like kale and broccoli. Cabbage is loaded with vitamins- including vitamin C – and is so versatile. I could eat cole slaw every day of the week. It also is great in salads, soups and casseroles. Since I was doing a class on cooking with apples and pears I decided to combine these three ingredients together in one dish. I went a little sweet and sour with this one, adding 2 different vinegars and a bit of sugar. You could certainly add bacon or perhaps some hot peppers for variation. I served it as is, but will often stir in some cooked noodles just before serving.


Sweet and Sour Cabbage- with Apples and Pears

2 T. oil
1 large onion, sliced thin
8 c. shredded cabbage
2 c. chopped apples and pears, peeled if desired
½ c. cider vinegar
2 T. balsamic vinegar
¼ sugar, or more to suit your taste
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onion in oil until golden brown. Add cabbage and fruit and cook over medium high heat, stirring often until cabbage is wilted. Add remaining ingredients and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated. Adjust seasonings. Serves 4-6.
Note: You can serve this dish just as it is or you can add 8 oz. of cooked noodles when you add the vinegar for cabbage and noodles. Some people also like to make this dish with crumbled bacon or diced ham.

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