110g light muscovado sugar
110g black treacle
175g plain flour
Pinch of salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 large egg, beaten
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 South African pears, peeled, cored and chopped
1 South African pear
1 tbsp caster sugar
Fine shreds of lemon zest, plus the juice of the lemon
200g mascarpone cheese
1 Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan oven 170°C, Gas Mark 5. Put 12 paper muffin cases into a muffin tin.
2 Put the butter, sugar and black treacle into a saucepan and heat gently until melted. Don’t allow the mixture to get too hot. Cool slightly. Sift the flour, salt and ginger into a mixing bowl. Add the melted mixture and beaten egg, stirring them in thoroughly.
3 Heat the milk until lukewarm, then add the bicarbonate of soda. Quickly stir into the ginger mixture, pour into a jug and share between the muffin cases. Spoon an equal amount of chopped pear into each muffin case. Bake for 22-25 minutes until risen and firm. Cool on a wire rack.
4 While the muffins are cooling, core and slice the remaining pear neatly. Heat the butter in a frying pan until sizzling, then add the pear slices, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Cook gently for 2-3 minutes until lightly caramelised. Cool.
5 Top the muffins with the mascarpone, then finish off with the cooled pear slices and lemon zest.
Cook’s tip: Always use cook’s measuring spoons for accuracy – and level them off!