At home we love cheese. Actually, we absolutely adore cheese! All kinds of cheese – Bulgarian white and yellow, English mild or mature cheddar, Leicester, Gloucestershire, French Fromage Bleu, Italian Grana Padano and Peccorino…and so on and so forth. Sometimes when we’re not really hungry, I just slice 2-3 types of cheese on a plate together with seasonal fruit – apples, pears, oranges. It makes a wonderfully light dinner, best enjoyed with white wine or rosé.
Speaking of seasonal fruit, the best aspect of your parents living in the country and having a house in a village is the opportunity to enjoy freshly picked, absolutely organic and totally delicious fruit and vegetables. The last thing I managed to lay my hands on was a bag of pears from the region of Harmanli, where my parents live. The climate there is quite dry, which makes it perfect for grapes and pears and other types of fruit which are supposed to be very sweet.
Having tried out a couple of recipes involving pears in the muffin area, I decided they were too boring for me to bother and set out to make up something on my own – something different and fresh, with a real twist. And cheese, of course.
This is how these Blue Cheese Pear Muffins were born. If you like cheese, these are your muffins. They have a crispy, slightly salty crust with all the cheese, and soft, delicately sweet inside because of the diced pears. The products are simple and widely available and the whole thing takes less than an hour, including preparation and baking.
So, here is the recipe for Blue Cheese Pear Muffins:
1. 1 ½ cup flour
2. 2 tsp baking powder
3. ½ tsp nutmeg
4. 1 large egg, room temperature
5. ½ cup vegetable oil
6. ½ cup milk, room temperature
7. ¼ tsp salt
8. ½ tbsp. sugar
9. 100 gr blue cheese
10. 100 gr Bulgarian white cheese
11. 1 large or 2 smaller pears
1. Heat oven to 200oC, with the fan on. If you do not have a convection oven, heat it to 210 oC. Butter and sprinkle with flour a muffin tray.
2. Peel, core and dice the pears. Crush the cheese with your fingers and mix with the pears in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Sift the flower and mix it with the baking powder and nutmeg. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, beat the egg, oil, milk, salt and sugar until combined. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add the cheese-pear mixture and stir a few times more. Do not overmix. The batter will be very thick, no worries!
5. Fill in the muffin tray with the batter. Bake at 200oC for 6-7 min, then reduce the heat to 160 oC and bake for 12-15 more minutes, until golden at the edges and dry in the middle (check it with a toothpick). Mine took 18 minutes in total.
6. Leave in the tray to cool for about 10 min. Do NOT try to remove the muffins while hot or they will fall apart in your hands, as the cheese will still be very soft.
Et voila! Enjoy as breakfast or dinner, with a glass of white wine or a cup of tea.