1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon (or orange) zest
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large ripe pears, thinly sliced
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla, zest, brown sugar, butter, oil, and applesauce until well combined. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined; do not overmix. Distribute the muffin batter evenly between 12-13 baking cups. Stick 3 thin slices of pear directly into top of the muffin batter. Sprinkle granulated sugar onto the muffins, if desired.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the muffin tops are lightly browned and bounce back to the touch. Serve hot or at room temperature.