You have no eggs or milk of any kind, and your pantry is bare, so baking is out of the question, right? Wrong! These clever muffins use cornstarch instead of eggs and canned-fruit syrup in place of milk. Use whatever nut or dried fruit you have on hand and canned peaches if you don’t have pears. No trip to the store for provisions necessary!
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin liners, and spray with cooking spray.
Spread the pecans out on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until toasted and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool, and roughly chop.
Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a large bowl.
Chop the pears into 1/2-inch pieces, and set aside. Pour the syrup into a liquid measuring cup. Pour off any excess syrup, or add water if needed, to make 3/4 cup.
Whisk together the syrup, oil, granulated sugar and vanilla in medium bowl. Pour the mixture into the flour mixture, and add the pears, pecans and 1/4 cup of the cranberries. Gently fold the mixture together until almost completely combined (it’s OK if there are a few lumps).
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, and press some of the remaining 1/4 cup cranberries into the top of each. Bake until lightly golden and the muffins bounce back when pressed in the center, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes in the tin, then remove and let cool completely on a rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.