Thursday, October 10, 2013

Plum Poppy Seed Almond Muffins

Sometimes I just need to present a recipe on The Messy Apron to share how good somebody else’s idea is. In this case, I’m talking about the plum and poppy seed muffins in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. So, do fresh plums make a good addition to muffins? Oh, yes! Do they go well with poppy seeds? You bet.

I fiddled with the flavors of this recipe a little bit by adding some more spice, a little crunch in the form of chopped almonds, and some vanilla and almond extracts. I love almond with stone fruits and, since I didn’t brown the butter for these muffins as in the original recipe, I thought some almond extract would give me a little additional compatible flavor.

As far as the proportions of fruit, flour, liquid and leavening go, I didn’t mess around with this already very good recipe. If you own a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and were wondering where to start sampling its delights, I can highly recommend the plum and poppy seed muffin recipe. The batter is quite thick but the big dose of chopped plums contributes significantly to the moisture of the baked muffins making them soft and fruity…and delicious. I do recommend “dicing,” that is, cutting the plums into very small cubes so they can be well-distributed and to avoid soggy portions in your muffins.

I used roughly equal amounts of some nice, sweet, plump, dark-skinned plums and some small, red, slightly tart, locally grown plums that I had sitting in the refrigerator (waiting for me to get around to trying this recipe). This combination worked really well, and I think you can use any plums that taste good. Of course, any recipe is better with good-quality ingredients, but starting with a good-quality recipe is even better. My own changes are a matter of taste, but you don’t have to trust me at all. Trust The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook for the great ideas.


Poppy Seed and Plum Muffins with Almond
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 large egg
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¾ cup sour cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 cups diced fresh plums (any variety)
½ cup finely chopped almonds

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray (or grease it with butter or oil.) Or you can line the muffin cups with paper liners if you prefer.

2. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.

3. In a medium-size bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and poppy seeds. Stir together with a whisk (or you can sift if you prefer).  Set aside.

4. Beat the egg lightly with a whisk. Whisk in the butter. Whisk in the granulated and brown sugar, then whisk in the sour cream, vanilla and almond extracts until smooth.

5. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just a few dry spots remain. The batter will be thick. Stir in the plums and almonds.

6. Distribute the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 375 F for 15 to 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out free of wet batter.

7. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove the muffins from the pan. If they are difficult to remove, cool a little longer. Cool completely on a wire rack, or at least until they are just a little warm.

Makes 12 muffins

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