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Perfect pearing; Ripe fruit and fluffy sponge make delicious combination for this sweet treat.

Byline: Marie-Clare

Pears are a wonderful treat and, lucky for me, my mother-in-law Helen has a pear tree in her back garden and is more than happy for me help myself to use up her abundant yearly harvest. But I suppose she does know there will be a baked treat in return. I've been checking their progress over the past few months during my weekly visit, eagerly awaiting the time when they are ready to pick. This anticipation makes baking with them even more satisfying and I'm always excited to make up some new recipes with them.

Since pears are usually picked when slightly under-ripe they take a few days to improve in texture and flavour after picking. Ripe pears have an inviting fragrance and are soft to touch, making them perfect to go into a soft, fluffy cupcake.

If I was baking a crumble or even poaching the pear, I would use slightly under-ripened pears so they hold their shape and texture.

Honey is a favourite ingredient of Helen's so I've incorporated some into the cupcakes as well as some ginger to add a little spice. Since pears have a very subtle flavour, it's important not to overpower them with strong flavours so I've only added a little of each but feel free to adjust to suit your own taste.

These cupcakes are super light and delicate - perfect for a light autumn treat and a thank you to my mother-in-law Helen for the lovely pears.

PEAR, HONEY AND GINGER CUPCAKES INGREDIENTS CUPCAKES n4oz margarine n4oz golden caster sugar n2 large eggs n4oz self raising flour n2 ripe pears pealed, cored and diced n1 heaped tbsp honey n1tsp ground ginger BUTTERCREAM n250g soft spreadable butter n500g icing sugar n2tbsp honey nSome milk or pear juice too loosen nNutmeg to decorate METHOD 1 Pre heat the oven to 160c/gas mark 3. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases.

2 Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until fully combined add the honey then fold in flour, pear and ginger and mix only until combined. Spoon into the cupcake cases filling three-quarters full. Bake for approx 15 mins or until golden brown. Place on a wire Collins tray until cool.

3 With an electric whisk, mix together all the ingredients of the buttercream and mix until light and fluffy. Spoon or pipe onto the cupcakes then grate some nutmeg over the top.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Jan 7, 2018
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