Hi there! Firstly, sorry that it took me longer than I wanted to post up these muffins. I made them almost a week ago, but life was just too full to put them up. I hope the taste will make up for it ;). The weeks are getting busier and busier with university assessments and also my volunteering for the cookbook. All very exciting, but sometimes a bit intense. So that is one of the reasons why I really needed a weekend away. Last weekend, my lovely boyfriend, Nicolas, and I went camping in Coolendel. This is a campsite about 3 hours away from Sydney, but you have the feeling you are in the middle of nowhere – perfect for getting away from the rush of the city. I wanted to bring something baked to enjoy on our little trip. Something that was easy to bring, tasty, yummy and good. At the moment, pears are in season, so I decided to do something with pears, and (why not?!) chocolate. I looked at different recipes, scones, cakes, muffins. And decided in the end to use a BBC Good Food recipe as the base of my recipe. The recipe is a cake, but I figured muffins are easier to have ‘on-the-go’. I increased the chocolate a bit and used less butter – they turned out really good! They were a lot lighter than I had expected. Maybe my pear-bits were a little big, because the muffins did tend to fall apart a bit. They were nevertheless very tasty and a good camping treat :)!
Besides the tasty muffins, we had other treats at the campsite as well – wallabies, wombats and iguana’s! We got to pet one of the wombats, when we went for a late night walk. The first wombat we spotted ran away when we tried to approach it – so we let it be, since we didn’t want to stress it out. But the second one (our friend 🙂 ) stood still, a bit nervous-looking, but as soon as we started to pet its back, the wombat completely relaxed, dropped its shoulders and started eating grass. That was a very awesome and cute experience :)! We also went swimming in the river on the campsite, which was very cold. After a while, when I got used to the cold, it was a lot of fun! And the sun was shining enough to later dry you, if you were standing on a sunny spot. So all in all, it was a really good weekend – with an awesome campfire, cool wildlife and delicious muffins – hopefully we’ll get to do it again soon :)! But for now, this is the recipe for my flourless chocolate and pear muffins! Let me know if you like them – and what you would take as a camping baked treat!
Makes 11 muffins
- 85g hazelnuts, roasted and ground in a foodprocessor*
- 60g butter
- 85g brown caster sugar
- 100g dark chocolate (I used 90%)
- 3 eggs, separated
- 3 ripe pears, peeled and chopped into smaller cubes
- Preheat the oven to 180C. And line your muffin tin with muffin paper cups.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of hot water, remove from the heat, and leave to cool.
- Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick; fold into the chocolate with the hazelnuts
- In a separate bowl, with a clean whisk (I would use an electric whisk if you have one – I tried (okay, I have to admit that it was late at night and I was tired from kick boxing) to do it by hand, but decided to go for the electric whisk instead) , beat the whites until they reach a soft, but stiff peak. Stir a spoonful of the whites into the chocolate mix, then carefully fold in the rest of them in 2 additions.
- Fold in the pear pieces. Divide the batter over the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 30 minutes, until the pears are soft and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Make sure you check every now and then within the 30 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin slightly before transferring the muffins to a rack to cool completely. You can definitely eat them warm as well, but the pears will be very hot. And I liked them more when they were cold!
*To roast the hazelnuts, place them for about 8 -10 minutes at 180C in the oven. Afterwards, let them cool down completely. Try to get rid some of the hazelnut skin. Place the nuts in a foodprocessor and process until you get a fine meal. My hazelnuts were still a little coarse, which gave a nice texture in my opinion, with the surprise of a bigger piece of hazelnut from time to time. But if you want a softer, smoother texture, I recommend processing them until they look more like flour than small breadcrumbs!