Messing with Tradition: Pumpkin Spice Muffins w/ Pears
We are not a pumpkin pie family (we are also not a green bean casserole family, just to set the record straight).
There is never a pumpkin pie on our Thanksgiving table (I know, sacrilegious!), and please, if I see mini marshmallows on top of a sweet potato casserole, I may have to leave.
I am more of a modern Thanksgiving gal. I like fresher, newer classics, without so much butter, brown sugar and fat.
You could roast some vegetables, cook a big juicy bird and make a delicious sweet potato gratin, along with a great bread & fruit stuffing and that would be perfect for me.
Why do we need 3 different types of potatoes?
Mashed, sweet, AND roasted (for the picky eater in the corner). Isn't one potato dish enough?
I know, tradition, smission.
Back to the pumpkin post.
I've been told if you make a pumpkin pie, you MUST use CANNED pumpkin, never fresh.
Not sure why, but I will adhere to the pumpkin rules.
I decided to trick the family this year and serve a pumpkin muffin on the buffet, let's see if they notice.
I stuck a sliced pear inside each muffin for some beauty, and instead of the traditional cream cheese frosting, I just left them plain.
Sometimes it's good to mess with tradition.
Martha's Pumpkin Spice Muffins or Cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon each allspice and cloves)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin puree
2 pears of your choice (I used green Anjou)
I found these cute little paper self bakers at Home Goods and couldn't resist, so I baked the cake in these. You don't need a muffin tin and they make a nice presentation, but go ahead and bake it in a cake pan if you don't want individual muffins.
Preheat oven to 350F if baking the cake, 375F if baking muffins. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan or line a muffin tin with 10 muffin paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, butter, and pumpkin puree until combined. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, and mix gently until smooth.
Turn batter into prepared pan, and smooth top. I stuck a pear slice in each muffin (I left the peel on, but next time, would remove the peel).
Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes for a cake. For muffins, bake 20-25 minutes.
Cool cake 10 minutes in pan, then turn out of pan, and cool completely, right side up, on a rack.
If you want to make the original honey cream cheese frosting, here is the recipe.