Femme Brûlée: Buttermilk Pear Spice Muffins

I recently started a new job that exponentially increased the amount of cardio I do every week which means I am now hungry all the time. I have to keep snacks close by everywhere I go, and I wake up so ravenous that cooking anything before snapping at someone isn’t always possible. In order to preserve my relationships, I’ve started baking things ahead of time for breakfast, and it’s been a great reminder of how much I love muffins. They’re the best! Aside from being adorable and perfectly sized for snacking they’re also super versatile and easy to make. You can put pretty much anything in a muffin and find a way to make it delicious. Muffins were also the official breakfast of my grad school years because for some reason I love to make them when I’m stressed. I think it’s because they take little effort but give the payout of deliciousness, they make your home smell amazing while they bake and make surviving mornings much much easier. Truly, if you’re not a morning person and/or are susceptible to hanger, I suggest you get on the muffin train.

I’ve made tons of muffin recipes and rarely meet one I don’t like, but these spiced pear beauties are some of my favorites. They’re reminiscent of fall due to the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, the buttermilk counters the sweetness of the pears, and they’re substantial enough for breakfast but light enough that they wont make you crash on the job two hours later. I chose pears for these because I love the way they soften while baking till the point that they almost taste like pie filling when you bite into the muffin, especially when it’s warm. Please eat these while they’re still warm. They’d be amazing with apples, peaches, or a crumb topping too, and they’re just the right amount of buttery. These are definitely not dense, dry, bland muffins that will leave you desperate for a glass of water, they may make you want an extra cup of coffee and more time to sit around and eat muffins in the morning though. Take 30 minutes to make these over the weekend and come Monday morning you’ll be so glad you did.

Buttermilk Pear Spice Muffins


2 pears, cored and cubed
2 cups all purpose flour (240g)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 stick (4oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 tablespoon brandy or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter your muffin tin or fill with cupcake liners
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar with a hand or stand mixer. Next stir in the eggs and brandy or vanilla extract, followed by half the four mixture, and half the buttermilk. Stir until combined then add the remaining flour and buttermilk. Mix until everything is incorporated, then fold in the pears. 
  4. Fill your prepared muffin tin, then bake for 18-20 minutes! 
  5. Move to an oven rack to cool… and as soon as they’re cool enough to handle, eat some muffin!
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Reneice Charles

Reneice Charles is a just another queer, liberal, woman of color using the Internet to escape from reality and failing miserably. She received her MSW from New York University and is an Entrepreneur and Vocalist living in Los Angeles. She spends her spare time wishing she didn't have to use her spare time convincing people that everyone deserves the same basic human rights.

Reneice has written 104 articles for us.


  1. Oooh, as a grad student very prone to hanger, this is perfect for me! In other words, as recipes go, there’s muffin’ better.

    • Between this and your username I get a sliiiiiiiight feeling that you’re into puns as much as you are into baking ;-)

  2. Every time I see the ‘Femme Brûlée’ title it reminds me of that one time I scalded myself while on vacation in France and ‘brûlée’ means burnt or scalded in French, so I’m the literal Femme Brûlée

    • Ha! Well I hope it wasn’t too bad of a burn! I do know the translation of the title, people give me grief for it pretty regularly in comments and assume that I don’t know or didn’t think about it rather than asking if i’m aware of the translation or if there was a reason for choosing this title beyond the obvious pun. There is of course, and i’ll likely write one of the posts about it soon, but its incredible how quickly people assume both that I’m uneducated about the title of my column/couldn’t possibly speak or understand any French, and that all of the editors at our site must be equally ignorant as well which is pretty ridiculous when you think about it. I Appreciate your relating to/claiming it rather than going the other route! :)

  3. These look great. Now that it’s finally pear season in my bit of the world I’ll get making. Thanks.

  4. Mine just came out of the oven and wow are they tasty. I ended up putting my favorite crumble topping (which I invented for my fruit cobblers) on them, since I think muffins are tragically naked without a bit of crumb. And for those who are curious, these work fine at altitude with no alteration. I made half without ginger (I’m not a huge ginger fan) and half with ginger. I personally prefer them without, but the ginger is subtle enough that they are delicious both ways. I ended up getting 19 total in an average American cupcake tin, but I would imagine there might be some mild variation depending on your pear size. I used pears that were significantly under ripe partially because they are out of season here, and partially because I was worried about them getting too squishy, but they would have been fine most of the way to ripe I think. Also leaving the peel on was totally fine! I was slightly worried about that too, but I figured I would defer to the master in this case since peeling pears sucks.

    Every time a femme brûlée goes up, I tell myself that, this time, This Time, I will actually make it. And this time I actually did! And I am very pleased with the result. I generally bring my baked goods to all my weekly doctor appointments, but these are staying at home with me. Mine. All mine.

    • I’m so proud of you!! And so glad you liked the muffins. Do not blame you at all for not wanting to share :)

  5. I made them, and they are great! The batter is good, too haha. I made 12 big muffins.

  6. Hi! Making these AGAIN for brunch tomorrow! In the last year, this has become a standby.

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