Six Carmen Pears came home with me on a Wednesday and found a home in a large bowl, resting in the sunlight that warms my dining room table, and the moonlight that cools it. ANYWAYS…A few days went by and one was chosen at random to be sliced and consumed with cheese, an Irish Dubliner to be exact.
Having never tried a Carmen pear before, I slid a slice into my mouth to experience the firm ivory flesh, unadulterated. The flavor that met my tongue and greeted my senses was… bland. This beautiful Carmen Pear, extra oblong, green and dappled with a golden blush had basically no flavor. Judeau didn’t even want to eat it.
A-baking we will go!
These cupcakes can be made with any firm pear (Bosc would be pleasant) so feel free to get creative.
2 Cups Cake Flour (All-Purpose works also, I just found cake flour in my pantry and figured, why not?)
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Salt
4-5 Firm Pears
3 Tbs. Honey
¼ Cup Triple-sec (Grand Marnier, Rum, other Liqueur)
1 Stick Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
2 Eggs, Room Temperature
1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 Single-Serve Container Greek Yogurt (5.3 oz)
1 Tsp. Vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F
Line 2 Muffin Tins with your cupcake paper of choice
This recipe should yield exactly 24 regular sized cupcakes
Slice and dice the pears into small chunks – I leave the skin on because I like the texture, but feel free to peel them if that is your preference
Place pears into large bowl and add the Triple-sec and honey, set aside
Sift flour, baking soda and powder, salt together
Using a stand-mixer or hand-held mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium for about 5 minutes
Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla
Mix in Greek Yogurt
Slowly add dry ingredients until just incorporated, a few lumps are ok
Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and make sure the bottom is fully mixed
Using a colander or strainer, drain the excess liquid from the pears and place into a small saucepan – turn on medium, medium low and let simmer until it reduces by half
While the liquid reduces, fold the pears into the cake batter, ensuring each pear piece is nicely coated
Scoop the batter into the muffin tins, filling just to the top
I added chopped walnuts to the top of half the cupcakes, just for fun
Bake for 12-15 minutes til the top is that lovely golden color we so often want baked things to have – after 12 minutes I moved the tins from the middle rack to the top for the last 3 minutes of baking
Remove baked cupcakes and while still warm gently brush the top with the reduced honey pear liquid – this step is really simple and super satisfying because it adds a lovely sheen and has the added bonus of making you feel like a professional
I will not let my first experience with a raw Carmen Pear ruin my appreciation for this fruit. I bet there are raw Carmen Pears out there bursting with vibrant flavor. Either way, they inspired this fun treat and act as additional proof that baking solves all of my problems.