“Gone, gone again is Summer the lovely.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay, from Collected Poems; Song.
It’s Spring, flirting with heavy elements of Summer and few of Winter. Some days hot, some cool. Never an in-between. I’ve always thought that Spring was a rather fickle season. It’s the hardest change to observe. I can pick the indescribable scent of summer, the heat, the smell of the ocean – the days long. It feels like sunshine, the world pulsating and alive. I can feel the crisp breeze of autumn, the fall and rustle of leaves, life beginning to turn towards hibernation. And I definitely can feel the bitter chill of winter, stagnation and first frost. The night looming with every passing moment.
But Spring is undefinable. It doesn’t feel like monsoonal re-birth. Vivid green and fresh blooms perhaps, but always illusive. To me, it’s the mergence of the former and future seasons. The extremes coming together, not to meet and never in unison – rather to clash and battle for control of the current day. It’s hot days that make it difficult to bake. It’s cool nights that make it difficult to sleep.
Today, I have a recipe for these Matcha, White Chocolate and Pear Muffins with Almond Streusel in partnership with Aiya Matcha for you. The kind of recipe that’s complete and utterly perfect for the unpredictable seasons.
I don’t make muffins enough. For some reason, they always eclipse my creative and culinary process of thought. I’ve witnessed enough morose muffins for this lifetime, and the one there-over. But when I do make muffins, I make them great.
These Matcha, White Chocolate and Pear Muffins with Almond Streusel are tender, slightly green tea flavoured and filled with poached spiced pears and melted chunks of sweet white chocolate. A topping of toasty almond streusel too. Oh, and a rather generous flourish of powdered sugar.
The infusion of Aiya Matcha to the batter completely transforms these otherwise delicious, but usual muffins. It’s subtle and smooth, but present. There’s something about Matcha that’s cleansing and restorative, it’s properties are addictive. No wonder it’s history is steeped within thousands of years. I don’t bake with it often, but I definitely will be changing all that. Keep an eye out for another Matcha inspired recipe coming to the blog within the next few weeks.
*This post is sponsored by Aiya Matcha. As always, all opinions are my own.
- 3 medium pears, cored and diced into 1½ cm (.6”) chunks
- 40 grams (1.4 ounces) granulated sugar
- 40 grams (1.4 ounces) unsalted butter
- seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 60 grams (2.1 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 25 grams (0.8 ounces) almond meal
- 30 grams (1 ounce) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 45 grams (1.5 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 300 grams (10.6 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons Aiya cooking grade Matcha
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 160 grams (5.6 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 100 grams (3.5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 180 grams (6.3 ounces) créme fraîche, or sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract
- 175 grams (6.2 ounces) white chocolate, roughly chopped
- Confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- Place the pears, granulated sugar, butter, vanilla bean seeds, ground cinnamon and cardamom in a medium sized non-stick skillet set over medium heat. Stir until the butter and sugar have dissolved. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the pears are just beginning to evenly soften, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Place the all-purpose flour, almond meal, sugar, salt, ground cinnamon and cardamom in a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk with a fork to distribute the ingredients. Add the cold butter and use your fingers to rub the butter evenly into the dry ingredients until it resembles a coarsely textured meal with some large clumps running throughout it. Set the bowl aside.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C (350 F). Line a 12 x cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set it aside.
- Whisk the all-purpose flour, baking powder, Aiya Matcha, baking soda and salt in a large sized mixing bowl. Add in the granulated sugar and whisk until it is evenly distributed throughout the dry ingredients.
- In a separate medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted butter, créme fraîche and vanilla bean extract until smooth and incorporated.
- Pour the liquid ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Use a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon to fold the ingredients together until just combined. Add in the cooled pears and white chocolate chunks and fold until evenly incorporated.
- Spoon the batter evenly into the paper liners, filling them no more than ⅔rds full then sprinkle the tops of the muffins generously with the streusel.
- Bake, for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before placing the muffins out and onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, sift over a dusting of the confectioners’ sugar before serving.