March 2, 2008

Ginger Pear Muffins and Announcing AFAM March

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead;
And when she was good
She was very, very good,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

Much as I hated having this as the nursery rhyme that best described me, I have now come to terms with it. There is nothing that comes close to describing the mischievous, short tempered child that I was (and continue to be). I was the baby of the house, the youngest grandchild on both sides of the family. My tantrum throwing, my stomping out of the room, and everything associated with that is still remembered by every member of my family. And they will probably never let me forget it.

I was born with very sensitive skin and there were (and are) very few things that actually agreed with me. So, my parents thought it best to stick to only those things, expensive as they may be, rather than deal with the allergic reactions. So, I even had a special soap. When I was a little older, I fought with Amma about that as well. Why did everyone in the house get to use that nice green soap when I had to use that brown soap? She tried to explain to me that it was special, but I would have none of that. So, I started using the green soap only to quickly revert to the “one and only” for me.

What is this boring story doing on my food blog? Why is it part of the post that is meant to announce the fruit of the month?

It is only because the two have something in common. The soap that I have been using ever since “the great revert” is proud to be the fruit of the month: Pears!

A Fruit A Month is an event started by Maheswari of Beyond the Usual. This is my first time hosting any event and I am grateful to Maheswari for this opportunity.

You can join the party as long as you follow these simple rules:

1. Prepare any kind of dish with Pears of any kind and post the recipe on your blog in the month of March.
2. Add a link back to this event announcement (feel free to use this logo):

3. Please send me an e-mail at with the following info.

  • Subject Line: AFAM
  • Your name
  • Your blog name
  • A picture of the dish if you have one.

4. Non bloggers can e-mail me the recipe and the picture and I will include it in the round up.
5. Deadline is April 1, 2008 and the round up will be posted in the first week of April.

I am so excited about this event. I’m kickstarting it with my favourite kind of baked goodie: the humble muffin. I found this recipe a long time ago and I don’t recollect where I found it. The word document where I’ve saved it has a footnote that says, “Source: Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight Café”. I bought crystallized ginger to make these, but have been munching on them everyday since the day I brought the packet home.

Ginger-Pear Muffins

1 cup Pears, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 cups Flour
½ tsp Salt
1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
1/3 to ½ cup Sugar
1 tbsp Lemon zest, grated
1/3 cup Crystallized Ginger, very finely minced
1 cup Buttermilk
1 Egg
2 tsp Fresh Ginger, ground
1 tsp Vanilla
4 tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Prepare the muffin pans by lining them with paper muffin cases.

Place the chopped pear in a shallow dish, drizzle with lemon juice, and set aside.

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and lemon zest in a medium sized bowl. Stir in the minced crystallized ginger.

Blend the buttermilk with the egg, fresh ginger, and vanilla, and beat gently with a fork or a small whisk until smooth.

Slowly pour this mixture, along with the melted butter, into the dry ingredients. Add the pear as well. Using a spoon or rubber spatula, stir from the bottom of the bowl until the dry ingredients are all moistened.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven, then remove the muffins from the pan and place them on a rack to cool.

I also baked some plain vanilla cupcakes to take along for a picnic yesterday. We took about 50 kids from an NGO on a Delhi Metro ride and showed them the Red Fort. I followed my Golden Glow cake recipe and baked them in mufifn cases for 15 minutes at 375ºF. After 10 minutes of baking, I planted some Cadbury's Gems on top. They cracked during baking and some chocolate oozed out. I thought that was a bad thing until I realized that the chocolate added to the overall appeal. The kids loved them and more than the kids, the adults from my office demanded another batch. Meeta's monthly mingle had the theme of "Drop in & Decorate" some time ago. While I didn't participate then, I am glad I made 50 underprivileged kids happy yesterday.


Finla said...

Oh Wow i am so glad you choosed Pears as AFAM. Here there is a lot in the shops at the moment.
I fo sure will send you a cake.
My mom always use pears soap too.

FH said...

Great choice girl, we get plenty of those here,no problems!:)
Muffins are yum.

Namratha said...

When I was at the market yday I was wondering if Pears have been The choice fro AFAM just answered that for me!! Good choice Raaga...and by the way, Pears is my fav soap :D

sunita said...

Raaga, I can still smell Pears :-D...those are some gorgeous looking muffins and I love the theme for your event...btw, I also love the thought behind those vanilla muffins :-)

Unknown said...

Just like you sweetie to go around making the world a better place...Hugs for that- those gems decorating the muffins are such a nice idea when making them for kids, because plain muffins seems pretty boring to kids, a dash of colour is good to get them interested...
Will surely participate in the first event you hosting :)

Uma said...

Wow, what a great idea for an event! I love pears. shall try to contribute. The muffins look so lovely! Thanks.

Laavanya said...

Those muffins look great and must've thrilled those kids for sure! Awfully sweet of you. I used to stomp to my room and bang the door shut when I was upet (It sounds awful I know) I only stopped after my brother who was just 4/5 yrs old (he's much younger than me) started to imitate me! When I saw him do it, i realized how bad it looks...
Good choice for AFAM.. will try to get something out to you.

Srivalli said...

Ok..I was just the other day thinking about pear and thought it was already over..only later realised peaches got over...ok..let me see around if I am able to get pears!

Sig said...

hey awesome choice darling, my favorite fruit in the world... I am in..... :)

Kalai said...

Wonderful choice!! I have something in my file that I'll post soon. I am so making those muffins!! :)

Anonymous said...

cupcakes look delicious, especially the ones with the gems on top look very cute:)

Cynthia said...

After reading that story, I want to bathe with pear soap. :)

Raks said...

Nice choice for AFAM! I have pears with me! I would try to send my first entry for the event!

Mansi said...

This so gives me a reason to cook pears! the muffins looks great Raaga:)

Suganya said...

Clean and Clear Pears soap is green :D. Nice to know that somebody used this soap other than me.

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Lovely choice of fruit. Will try to participate, but am not sure if I can manage it.
Great thing to bake for the kids. Way to go.

musical said...

Ginger and pears, now that sure must have tasted SWEET! Great gesture to make such lovely muffins for the kids and go out with them. Am sure you all enjoyed a lot.

He he, and i used to love Pears soap as a kid :).

Unknown said...

ur muffins really look tempting..will try them..

Mansi said...

You can totally send these to WBB-Balanced Breakfasts Raaga! they would be awesome:)

Viji said...

The egg and buttermilk gives a nice rise to the muffins Raaga. Will try to participate as I love pear too much. Viji

Medhaa said...

I hate fruits yes thats true I wont eat them.. thats why my mom would always make smoothies, cakes or fruit salads and thats the only way I get my Fruits. But I do have a lovely recipe to share will sure participate.

ms said...

Hi raaga,
nice post, specially liked the nursery rhyme - describes my daughter perfectly.

Will surely try to participate,

Deeba PAB said...

Hi Raaga...good for you. Love the fact that you made so many muffins for the kids. They must have loved you! They're looking greta, all nicely packed & ready to go. Even the pear muffins look great...have never used pear in food before! thinking!! Ciao

Anonymous said...

i dont know how i missed this... one more thing in common i guess... this rhyme was ALWAYS sung for me by family and friends who thought it best described me...and they'd leave out the last word "horrid" just look around and laugh....i would seethe with anger...burst out in tears or say something in retort, based on my mood/age!!