My big favorites are Bartletts, but I just got some other kind of pear that was Not a Bartlett (maybe Bosc? But I don't think so, it was something else, and I don't remember now) and that was almost as good as my beloved Bartletts.
I didn't grow up eating a lot of pears, what with all that tropical fruit biz I had going on in Hawaii. So something as seemingly mundane as a wonderful pear was A Very Great Treat. Sometimes people would send us pears as Christmas gifts from the company Harry & David, and I swear they have magical pear growing fairies working for them. Those pears were AMAZING.
I washed it really well not long ago, and decided to put it away. Andrew applauded that notion heartily. And then I didn't put it away. It's still on my counter and now it has muffins in it.
But these were....GREAT. I will list the reasons why: Not too sweet. These days too sweet things make me gag and make my heart race. The texture was amazing! Almost like....they had been steamed in the middle. My non-scientific guess? The moisture from the pears makes the interior extra moist! Good chocolate flavor - pleasingly apparent, but not overpowering or too rich. We all LOVED these muffins, and you must have them a little warm, with some butter.
This is yet another wonderful recipe I've made from a delightful little book called 'Cooking with Apples & Pears' by Laura Washburn - I make the Apple-Parsnip Soup all the time, and it's a darling and fab book, with savories, bakes, tarts & pies, desserts and chutneys/jellies. I'm going to be making the Spiced Apple Cake recipe next.
PEAR AND CHOCOLATE MUFFINS - via 'Cooking With Apples & Pears'
3 and 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
7 oz. cream cheese (not low fat), room temp
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of fine sea salt
14 oz. ripe pears (about 2-3), peeled, cored, and diced
3 and 1/2 oz. chocolate chips
Line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners or muffin wrappers, or grease well instead. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt the chocolate and butter either in a double boiler set over simmering water or you can do what I did, and melt them in the microwave. (I microwave 30 seconds at a time, until barely melted and then stir to melt the remainder.) Set aside until needed.
Combine the sugar and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer until well blended. Add the eggs and melted chocolate mixture and continue beating until well blended.
Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well. Tip into the chocolate mixture and, with the whisk on low, mix until just blended. Fold in the pears and chocolate chips. Spoon the mixture into paper liners or greased muffins wells, dividing evenly.
Bake in the preheated oven until a skewer inserted in the center of a muffin comes out almost clean, about 20-30 minutes. (mine took exactly 23 minutes.) Transfer to a wire rack and let cool before serving. (If not using liners, wait 5 minutes before running a knife around the edges and turning out.)
~Makes 12 muffins.
I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!