brown butter pear & meyer lemon muffins

makes one dozen

1 bartlett pear, peeled, cored & diced fine

7 tablespoons (3.5 ounces) of very cold butter

Freshly grated zest and juice of 1 Meyer lemon

1 cup (4.5 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour

3/4 cup (3.5 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour

1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder

1/4 (1 gram) teaspoon baking soda

1/4 (1 gram) teaspoon coarse salt

1/3 cup (2.5 ounces) natural cane sugar

1 1/4 cups (280 ml) buttermilk

2 teaspoons (10 grams) coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease one 12-cup standard size muffin tin or fit with paper liners; set aside.

In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat until it becomes golden and releases a nutty aroma. Add the pears and zest. Saute 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and let cook until bubbly and pears are just tender, about 1 more minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool while you prepare the batter.

In a deep bowl, whisk together the flours, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the remaining butter into tiny bits and it to the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, or your fingers (my preferred method), blend until it forms a sandy-looking mixture.

Pour in the buttermilk and stir, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, until just mixed and there are no visible traces of flour. Gently stir in the cooled pear mixture. Spoon into the prepared muffin tins and sprinkle tops with an even amount of coarse sugar, if desired.

Bake 20 minutes, until tops are golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean (it’s okay if there’s pear juice on it). Remove from oven and let cool 5 to 10 minutes in the tin (don’t worry they won’t get soggy), then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.