For this wholesome pear muffins recipe I used two special ingredients. Mini pears and purple wheat. The mini pears are local, it’s a variety called petersbirne (peter’s pear). They are very small and super tasty. Sweet, juicy, with a hint of cinnamon. They are already ripe in July, which is early for German pears. I usually associate pears with autumn, probably because they can be stored and start to shine when all the berries are gone. That’s why I kept this recipe in my draft folder until now that the wonderful pear season has really started.
These aromatic pears go well with a special kind of wheat. It’s called Purpurweizen (crimson/purple wheat). Now before you click away: you can use regular whole wheat flour for this recipe instead. Please don’t think this recipe isn’t suitable for you, I will tell you all about the alternative ingredients you can use. If you cannot find purple wheat, I do recommend regular whole wheat flour for best flavour and texture. (My coworkers were kind of shocked I had used whole wheat flour and made something “healthy”.)
As already mentioned, these wholesome pear muffins are the kind of baked good that us usually labeled as healthy. The muffins are lower in sugar and they are low fat. They make a great snack or breakfast item. These probably have some more nutrients than your regular bakery style muffin. And still they are just as fluffy. They taste very aromatic and are easy to make. This is a small batch recipe. It makes six pear muffins instead of the usual twelve. If you cannot find small pears that will fit into a muffin, use a quarter of a regular pear or simple slice a pear or two into cubes and stir those cubes into the batter. Sure they might not look as cute, but they are just as delicious.
What is Purple Wheat?
Purple wheat is a kind of wheat which has come into fashion (in Germany) a couple of years ago together with a similar variety called rotkornweizen (“red grain wheat”). Purple wheat is not the same as red wheat. Red wheat is the regular kind of wheat that we use here in Germany, while purple wheat is very hard to find anywhere. It has a wonderfully nutty taste and a brownish colour when baked. It’s much darker in colour than red wheat and it keeps its purple tint when milled and baked. The hearty and wholesome taste of purple wheat goes very well with these pear muffins, in fact it would go well with any kind of muffin.
Both purple wheat varieties have a red-purple skin caused by anthocyanins and carotenoids. Anthocyanins are water soluble pigments that can also be found in blueberries, grapes and other purple foods. The purple wheat I used is not a new variety, in fact is is very old. It has been rediscovered when people started to think about having more diversity among the grains they were eating on a day by day basis. Most people here don’t know much about the wheat they are eating. Nobody knows there are different kinds like red or white, soft or hard, spring or winter. It is not very important, I guess, because German flours are milled and then classified into types. These types have certain baking properties and that’s what’s important. (You can read more about this in my post on German flour types.) And whole purple wheat flour has exactly the same baking properties as regular whole wheat flour.
Personally I think it’s nice to have a bit variety when it comes to grains. I like to bake with different kinds of wheats but I also like spelt, einkorn, emmer (farro), or other grains. When it comes to baking muffins, it doesn’t matter that much what kind of flour you use. Muffin recipes are very forgiving. This recipe for these wholesome pear muffins is no exception. If you want to make it, you don’t have to limit yourself to purple (or whole wheat) flour. You could also use spelt, for example. Or a mix of wheat and oat or whatever you have on hand. It doesn’t matter. You can be creative.
Wholesome Pear Muffins
- 140 g (purple) whole wheat flour (1 cup + 2 Tbsp)
- 50 g sugar (¼ cup)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 120 ml soy milk (½ cup)
- 70 g apple sauce (3 tbsp)
- 30 ml neutral oil (2 Tbsp)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- zest from one lemon
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 6 mini pears or six pear quarters (or ½ cup diced pear)
- Preheat oven to 200°C and grease 6 muffin tins with oil.
- In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda and mix well.
- Stir in remaining ingredients except for pears.
- Pour the batter into the muffin tins and press pears into the batter. Or, if you are using diced pears, mix them into the batter before pouring the muffins into the tins.
- Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
- Serve immediately or when cooled completely.