The recent crisp cool air makes me crave warm comforting spices and desserts of stewed apples or pears. This time of year I just love the smells of nutmeg and cinnamon and cardamom that seem to come with the holidays. This morning still warm and snuggly in my pjs I baked up some pear cardamom coffee cake muffins. They were perfect for a cold morning with a hot cup of tea. I think I may bake them again for family in a few weeks for Thanksgiving, they were so good.
The coffee cake strussel is sweet and crumbly and gives great textural balance to the fluffy muffins. The pears come out buttery soft and practically melt into the muffin. And can we talk about the cardamom? Pear and cardamom, I think they really like each other and it shows. This pairing is nuanced and wonderful. Turn that heater on and enjoy some warm muffins this morning!
Pear and Cardamom Coffee Cake Muffins
(recipe adapted from Food & Wine apple crumb coffee cake muffins)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
2 large pears peeled and finely diced
MAKE THE STREUSEL Preheat the oven to 350°. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the flour with the brown sugar and salt. Add the butter pieces and mix at medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal; continue mixing the streusel until very small clumps form. Transfer the streusel to a large plate and refrigerate until it is well chilled, about 10 minutes.
MAKE THE CRUMB CAKES Line 18 standard-size muffin cups with paper liners. Spray the liners with vegetable oil cooking spray. In the mixer bowl, combine the flour with the granulated sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and cinnamon. Add the butter pieces and beat at low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the sour cream and beaten egg and beat until the batter is smooth. Add the diced pear and beat just until incorporated.
Fill the muffin cups halfway with the crumb cake batter. Press the streusel into clumps and sprinkle on top. Bake the crumb cakes in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until risen, golden and springy to the touch; rotate the pans halfway through baking. Let the crumb cakes cool slightly before serving.