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New England Pumpkin & Pear Muffins – Perfect For A ‘Weather Event’

It’s all wet and blustery in Brisbane today. A couple of tropical cyclones have brought plenty of rain and some very gusty winds to this normally sunny city. In the past there would have been a  worrying (exciting if you were a kid) cyclone warning on the TV, telling you that danger was imminent. If there was any chance of the cyclone being within 500km of your location, the warning came on. Programming would be suddenly interrupted with a blaring klaxon siren that I can still hear in my head to this day. For old time’s sake, listen to it here! As meteorological forecasting has become more sophisticated and other channels have opened up for notifying and connecting with citizens, the televised warnings have all but disappeared. Nowadays, instead of panicking the public, we are told by the BOM and news outlets to prepare for a ‘weather event’. The cyclone closest to Brisbane is called Cyclone Marcia. It is a category 5. That’s one big cyclone! #MarciaMarciaMarcia is trending on Twitter.

TC Marcia

At the tail end of summer, this weather event has dumped rain over the region and reduced the temperature by a few degrees. When the weather is wet and cool, thoughts turn to baking. Though I’ve lived in sub tropical Brisbane nearly all my life, I have an affinity with the flavours of New England in the USA. Apples and pumpkins, cinnamon and cider, chowder and lobster. They are ingredients and tastes I enjoy at home and abroad. I like to think these muffins are a nod to a blustery New England afternoon.

I have been using this basic muffin recipe for years and years, adding and subtracting according to the ingredients in the fridge or pantry. I use it for savoury and sweet recipes alike, simply reducing or increasing the amount of sugar to taste. Like many of the recipes I use, this ones is fairly forgiving. If you don’t have any butter, substitute some vegetable oil and/or yoghurt. The recipe calls for plain white flour but I often use a mix of white and wholemeal and bump up the baking powder by a ¼ teaspoon. If I had been thinking, I could have thrown in a handful of dried cramberries or blueberries. Next time… It doesn’t turn out huge Texan style muffins so I think it’s perfectly OK for you to have two of them with a cup of coffee as you watch the rain fall.

New England Pumpkin & Pear Muffins

New England Pumpkin Muffins


  • 1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 2 – 3 tbsp caster sugar (sweetness to taste)
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tspn cinnamon
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 firm pear, peeled & cored
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin, grated
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped
  • Nuts & raw sugar for decoration

New England Pumpkin Muffins 3


  • Sift SR flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl. Add sugar and stir to combine.
  • Grate pumpkin and cube pear into small dice. Add to flour mix and stir to coat ingredients in flour
  • Melt butter in a bowl or jug in microwave, allow to cool slightly and add eggs and milk.
  • Pour milk mixture into flour mix and stir to combine. Ensure batter is mixed but don’t over mix – a sprinkling of rustic dry flour is OK.
  • Divide mixture into a well greased 12 cup muffin tin. Place a pecan or walnut on top of each muffin and sprinkle with a pinch of raw sugar.
  • Bake in a 200c pre-heated oven for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown.
  • Remove from oven, allow to cool for 1 minute then loosen with a spatula and turn onto a cake rack to cool.

Makes 12 muffins

New England Pumpkin Muffins 2

16 comments… add one
  • Dean February 20, 2015, 6:28 pm

    Thanks Fiona for another fantastic recipe, they will be just the thing for a cold winters day!
    Kind Regards
    Dean Weber.

    • Fiona Ryan February 21, 2015, 11:54 am

      Thanks Dean…. certainly a voice from the past.

  • Lizzy (Good Things) February 20, 2015, 6:34 pm

    Thanks Fiona for a lovely recipe… I might try these with gluten free flour, or almond meal! Stay safe!

    • Fiona Ryan February 21, 2015, 11:41 am

      Thanks Liz – a very easy recipe that I’ve been using for years. Highly adaptable.

  • Maria February 20, 2015, 7:35 pm

    They look scrumptious! and I think easily modified to gluten free. Stay safe over the weekend!

    • Fiona Ryan February 21, 2015, 11:42 am

      Yes, I’m sure gluten free would be fine. Hope Shorncliffe can weather the flooding and storm surge. Yikes!

  • Sherry from sherryspickings February 20, 2015, 7:52 pm

    these look pretty delicious for a wet day. Rain has stopped so maybe it’s all over. Our local creek was so wide and fast it was a bit scary. Keep dry!

    • Fiona Ryan February 21, 2015, 11:45 am

      I know you’re on a plane somewhere Sherry but trust me, the rain has started up again!

  • Jan Rhoades February 20, 2015, 9:26 pm

    Ah, a day off to bake. I sewed. Have a look at my email you little ol’ mind reader, you.

    • Fiona Ryan February 21, 2015, 11:55 am

      There’s no forgetting that siren is there?

  • Donna (Bountiful Hunter) February 21, 2015, 7:18 am

    Hi Fiona, have always liked muffin recipes for their melt and mix easiness! These look great. Hope you are keeping dry and are on one of Brisbanes hills! Dx

    • Fiona Ryan February 21, 2015, 11:56 am

      Hi Donna – yes, high and dry in Camp Hill but certainly a lot of moisture in the air today. Made some very sad looking bread this morning as a result.

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime February 21, 2015, 3:26 pm

    Sorry, I was so obsessed with the fire I didn’t pay attention to your cyclone. I hope you are safe!

    • Fiona Ryan February 22, 2015, 2:40 pm

      Very high and dry here Tandy but substantial damage further up the coast. Just a very sodden city in Brisbane. I hope they were able to put out the fire and there wasn’t too much damage.

  • Lisa February 22, 2015, 6:45 am

    These look delicious, and although the weather is sunny and dry today (really Brisbane?!) these are on my must bake list next weather event 🙂 I’ve never thought to bake with raw pumpkin before!

    Now to hang all the neglected washing from the last week or so…

    • Fiona Ryan February 22, 2015, 2:39 pm

      Just think of pumpkin like carrot and it will set you free. As I type this, it’s raining again but what a stinker it’s been today. I haven’t even tackled the washing yet!

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