South African Pear & Chocolate Brownie Muffins


Ingredients (makes 10 muffins):

3 ripe South African pears, peeled and quartered
750ml water
3 tsp vanilla bean paste
300g caster sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
180g butter, cut into pieces
150g plain flour
40g self-raising flour
2 eggs, lightly whisked






1. Put the pears into a medium saucepan with the water, vanilla and half the sugar. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook, turning the pears occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pears to a plate to drain.

2. Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan oven 170°C, Gas Mark 5. Put 10 paper muffin cases onto a baking sheet or into a muffin tin.

3. Whisk 2 tbsp cocoa powder into the pear cooking syrup. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the syrup has reduced and is slightly thickened. Set aside.

4. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Use a metal spoon to stir until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.

5. Add the combined flours, eggs, 1 tbsp cocoa powder and remaining 150g sugar to the chocolate and butter mixture and stir until well combined.

6. Share the mixture between the muffin cases. Gently press a pear quarter into the middle of each one – you’ll have 2 pieces left to eat! Bake for 20-25 minutes. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool, then serve, drizzled with the chocolate syrup.