August 21st, 2009


Healthy Bran, Conference Pear and Bullace Breakfast Muffins

It was Mums birthday the first week of August and on the Saturday before she returned home we took Mum, Roy and Linda to Borough market, followed by a delicious afternoon tea at Browns Hotel.

I love going to Borough and it was no surprise that Mum enjoyed the visit  just as much. One of Mums recipes that made it into her suitcase was her bran muffin. She likes making it, as it’s easy and the bran is good for the digestive system too. Mum makes these and freezes them as soon as they are completely cooled down. She defrosts one at a time over night for a healthy breakfast. I quite like that tip so I made sure that the leftover muffins from this batch went into the freezer, they will make  a perfect packed lunch for me.

At Borough we all enjoyed tasting, looking and joking with some of the friendly stall holders. Roy has a  view  that ‘We are all serious foodies and love to find something unusual and if it’s British and seasonal we are in seventh heaven’. One of my best memories of the day was when Linda was talking about her and Roy’s younger years living in London. She pointed to the streets that they used to walk down to visit each other and she even remembered the bus number that she had to take. These memories are priceless and when Linda saw the wild plums and bullace she was in heaven. She was telling us about the fond memories that she had of these fruits, this made me even more interested in these fantastically sweet fruits.


The stallholder was friendly and we I asked if I could get a pound of bullace he pointed out that the lb on the tags stood not for a pound but for a large bag. I could not contain my laughter and realised his new use of ‘LB’, I played along and walked away with  large bags of both bullace and mirabelles.


It was a mere coincidence that as we were driving home via the country lanes in our area we became aware of lots of trees with wild fruits. We saw a couple of mirabelle trees and a few wild plums too. I had to seriously prevent Mr.P from stopping at every tree, like a dog, otherwise he would have had us arrested by now.

The sight of the first English conference pears is a lovely one, but they are a bit hard to use in your fruit bowls for now however they make brilliant cooking pears. When the pears are this firm they grate easily and this is a lovely fibrous fruity addition to this recipe. Later on in the season when the pears become softer I intend to switch to apples or if you insist on using  pears you will be better off to dice them with a knife, as grating them could potentially release too much liquid.

  • 200g All Bran flakes
  • 250g plain flour
  • 180ml buttermilk
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 125ml light brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 30g sunflower oil
  • 200g grated firm conference pears (roughly 2 pears)
  • 150g bullace, stones removed and cut in 1/4's
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 50g chopped hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease either a 18 hole medium size muffin tray or a large 12 hole tray.

Prepare the fruits, wash the pears and bullace. Remove the stones from the bullace and cut them into 1/4's. Coarsely grate the pears.

In a large mixing bowl weigh the flour, bran, baking powder, chopped hazelnuts, salt, sugar, lemon zest, grated pear and bullace 1/4's.

In a separate bowl whisk the buttermilk, egg and oil together.

Add the wet to the dry and use a large spatula to lightly fold the two together. Mum's tip is not to over work the muffin mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared trays, I fill them all the way to the top as it does not rise too much.

Bake the muffins for 30 minutes, turn the oven down to 180°C for the last 10 minutes of the baking time so that  they do not brown too quickly or too much.

Makes 12 large or 18 medium size breakfast muffins.

Food Fanatics Tips

If you cannot find wild plums or bullace use plums or damsons instead and the buttermilk could be substitute for natural yoghurt. A grated carrot or apple could be substituted for the grated pear. These muffins freezes very well, defrost them over night.

Print Recipe Print Recipe with Photo

9 Comments to “Healthy Bran, Conference Pear and Bullace Breakfast Muffins”

  1. Sophie says:

    What a georgous breakfast muffin this is!! Just so lovely!!

    MMMMMMMMMMMM,…you have one COOL foodblog!! Excellent pictures too!

  2. [...] Healthy Bran, Conference Pear and Bullace Breakfast Muffins by … [...]

  3. [...] the night before: Bran Conference Pear and Bullace Breakfast muffins. We thought these looked great as not only are these a sweet treat in the morning, they are healthy [...]

  4. Sophie says:

    I know I’ve said this on twitter already but these are just delicious Madalene. Chewy, fruity and moist.

    I’ve put some damsons aside to make another batch later in the week and freeze as you suggest. The first batch were pretty much devoured by a bunch of hungry triathletes this morning.

  5. I love pear muffins and now I know how to keep them fresh. We’re staying in the French Quarter in Shanghai right now and bakeries are still a big thing, a hang over from their colonial days.

    Borough Market is on my hit list for London. Not long to go!

  6. Barry says:

    Your Article makes me home sick.. years since I have seen Mirabelles
    We used to make tartelettes with cream cheese topped with Mirabelles and of course the inevetable jam… flavoured lightly with rosemary… oh well..I can still reminisce and enjoy the fruits in Mauritius

  7. Madalene says:

    O Barry, I’m sorry to make you feel home sick! Well think about all the wonderful sunshine you have to hand!
    The Mirabelle Jam with rosemary sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing with us!

  8. Sam says:

    This is so timely. I have been working on a recipe for healthy breakfast muffin tops that I freeze as soon as they are cool, and then remove one day at a time as I want to eat them (but I microwave 30 secs to defrost as I like them warm). It has to be done this way because there is not enough fat to keep them fresh otherwise. I will still continue working on my recipe testing for my post about it. Mine have brown rice krispies and home ground wholewheat flour in them. My flavour of this week is peach melba but pears are on the calendar for next week’s batch as I am expecting a windfall from a friend. What a coincidence. Especially since the only reason I started playing with muffin tops in the first place was because I won a “Muffin Top Pan” in the bake off I won with your friend’s Brownie recipe!

  9. Madalene says:

    Wow Sam your muffins sounds seriously yummy! I’m looking forward to try them once posted on your site.

Leave a Comment