1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
8 ounces diced pears with juice drained
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. fresh peeled and grated ginger (or 1/2 Tbsp. powdered)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place eggs and drained pears in a large mixing bowl and top with all dry ingredients. Add half the milk and mix.
2. Keep adding milk until the mixture has the texture of wet sand. Scoop with a standard muffin scoop into sprayed muffin pans.
3. Bake 20-25 minutes, then let cool before removing from pan.
Makes 12 muffins. Recipe from Asa Ransom House in Clarence, N.Y.
Chutney Cream Cheese Spread
1 1/2 pounds (3 bars) cream cheese, room temperature
3 Tbsp. dry sherry
3 Tbsp. light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
2/3 cup mango chutney, finely chopped
6 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
grated zest of 1 lime
6 oz. hickory-smoked almonds, coarsely chopped
1. Mix all ingredients except almonds together, either stirring by spoon or with the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. Start with cream cheese, then add spices, etc.
2. Stir in chopped almonds, then place in a dish or hollowed out fruit/vegetable and serve with crackers or crudite.
Mini-Toasts with Goat Cheese, Almonds, Pancetta and Honey
10 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
20 ounces soft-ripened goat cheese, crumbled or diced
2/3 cup sliced almonds
30-40 mini bread slices, toasted
extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1. Preheat oven broiler. Place pancetta in a skillet over medium heat and cook, turning once, until barely crisp, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to cool slightly.
2. Crumble pancetta into a bowl. Add the goat cheese and almonds and stir to combine. Set aside.
3. Brush one side of each toasted bread slice with olive oil. Arrange the bread slices, oiled sides up, on a baking sheet. Pile the goat cheese and pancetta mixture atop the toasted bread, making sure to cover the entire bread surface, including the crusts, so the bread does not burn.
4. Broil the toasts 3-4 inches from heat until the cheese is melted and lightly browned in places, about 3 minutes, but watch carefully to prevent burning. Transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with honey and serve.
Serves 10 as an appetizer. Recipe from "The Bonne Femme Cookbook."