Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pear-ginger-barley muffins on a bed of poppy seeds

I saw in a bookstore in Bob's Red Mill Baking Book a recipe for barley, ginger and pear muffins which pretty much had my name on it! I remember it contained butter, sugar and fresh pears. I couldn't wait to try it my way. I did away with the butter and the added sugar and I used dried pears instead of raw ones. I added poppy seeds as I love their crunchiness. The result is exactly what I was looking for, a light slightly spicy muffin with delicious fragrance and taste. Excellent with breakfast but also as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea. These muffins can be eaten as they are but they would be good too with cream cheese or, if you like sweet-and-sour, with a thin slice of Gruyère or Comté. Nutritionally speaking, I like the fact that they are made with close to 60% whole grain flours and that, between the applesauce and the pears, they are loaded with fruit.
Ingredients (for 8 oval muffins and 2 5-inch loaves): 150 g unbleached all-purpose flour 150 g whole wheat pastry flour 50 g barley flour 6 g aluminum-free baking powder (I use Rumsford) 4 g salt 50 g candied ginger, finely chopped 80 g dried pears, chopped the zest of one lemon (Myer if available) 66 g unsweetened applesauce 30 g roasted almond oil or canola or sunflower oil 400 g buttermilk 1 egg poppy seeds
  1. Turn on the oven (375 F/190 C)
  2. Mix flours, baking powder, salt, ginger and pears in a large bowl
  3. Add the lemon zest and mix again
  4. In a smaller bowl, mix the buttermilk, the egg and the oil
  5. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ones
  6. Mix delicately until the flour is incorporated
  7. Prepare muffin or bread molds. If using silicone, no need to oil the molds. If using metal, the molds need to be greased and floured
  8. If using muffin molds, pour a scant teaspoon of poppy seeds on the bottom. If using bread molds, reserve the poppy seeds
  9. Pour the batter into the molds (up to 2/3 of the height). If using bread molds, scatter poppy seeds on top
  10. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick or a blade comes out dry (watch out towards the end as the muffins might be done faster than the loaves)
  11. Let cool for 5 minutes on a cooling rack then remove from the molds
  12. Let cool completely before savoring.

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