Sunday, October 22, 2023

Muffins with Quince and Pecans

When I realized that I still had poached quince in the fridge and that it needed to be used, I went to various cookbooks and then to the index for this blog. It's easy to access the Index...just click on the photo of the table set with a rust tablecloth. It's on the right in the web view of the blog.

In the section with the oldest recipes I found Playful Banana Muffins and, after reading the recipe, I decided that this recipe, which had already had a big makeover, would get another makeover...this time with quince!

This is a lovely muffin. It's moist from the fruit, laced with chopped pecans and small pieces of quince, fragrant with the quince and orange zest and vanilla, and it has a nice crumb. I'm so glad that I made this recipe. It makes a full 12 muffins, plus a small loaf pan's worth of deliciousness. One of these muffins and a cup of tea go really well together.

No quince? You can substitute ripe pear and it will work just fine. Peel and core the pear, making sure to also remove the stem parts. Dice the fruit and make sure you have 2 cups worth. Pears range in size so much that you will probably need about 6. The same is true for the quince...about 5-6 will work. I boiled mine for about 10 minutes to soften the skin, peeled and cored them, then poached at a simmer in water which also had 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cinnamon stick and two whole cloves. Be sure to drain and then chill the poached quince.

I do hope you make these muffins with either quince or pears for a celebration of fall bounty!

Quince Pecan Muffins
Based very loosely on Raisin Bran muffins in the King Arthur Flour Bakers Companion

2 cups poached quince, diced small (about 1/2-inch)
1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin and a mini-loaf pan by spraying with baking spray or by greasing and flouring them. Set aside.

Check the quince for liquid. If necessary, dry with paper towels. Set aside.

In a large mixing owl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla and orange zest. Add the quince and pecans and stir to combine.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and oats.

Quickly, with as few strokes as possible, us a large spoon, wooden spoon, or large flexible spatula to mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, just until combined.

Fill prepared muffin cups with the mixture, filling each cup almost to the top. Pour the rest of the batter into the prepared mini-loaf pan, using a spatula to clean the bowl of batter.

Bake in preheated oven for 14-18 minutes for the muffins, or until they spring back when pressed lightly in the middle, and for about 25 minutes for the mini-loaf pan quince bread, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove when ready from the oven. Cool on a wire rack 5 minutes, then turn out of the pans and let cool until ready to serve, or serve at once. If desired, serve with butter, cream cheese, or apricot jam.

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