Poppyseed Plum Muffins

Plum Poppyseed Muffin
So, this sudden increase of muffin recipes on my blog is due to the alarming realization I had the other day when I searched for muffin recipes on my blog, and I realized I only had a handful here. This is so strange, because I make muffins all the time. Like, once or twice a week. Where have I been putting all these recipes? I’m not sure, but I’m going back and cataloguing them all, so that in the future when I search for my favorite muffins, they will all be here.

This is a recipe I worked long and hard at getting right for high altitude. I loved the idea of a plum muffin, but the original recipe (from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook), had great flavor and a disastrous texture. In fact, the muffins just blew across the top of the pan, as only muffins baked at high altitude do. So, I worked long and hard to get it right. Feel free, of course, to look up and use the original recipe, as this recipe is quite a bit changed. But if you do seek out the original, I still highly recommend 1/4 c. more sugar and some almond extract. It really makes them, well, a favorite here.

Poppyseed Plum Muffins

6 T. (3 ounces or 85 grams) unsalted butter, melted (and browned, if you have inclination)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 c. (50 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 c. (180 grams) rich, full-fat plain yogurt or sour cream
1/2 c. (60 grams) whole-wheat flour
1 1/4 c. (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 3/4 t. baking powder (2 t. if not at high altitude)
1/4 t. table salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 t. almond extract
2 T. (20 grams) poppy seeds
2 c. pitted and diced plums, from about 3/4 pound (340 grams) Italian prune plums (though any plum variety will do)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Butter twelve muffin cups or line with cupcake liners.

Whisk the egg with the sugar in the bottom of a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter, then the sour cream (yogurt), and almond extract. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and poppy seeds, and then stir them into the sour cream mixture until it is just combined and still a bit lumpy. Fold in the plums.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Rest muffins in the pan on a cooling rack for 2 minutes, then remove them from the tin to cool them completely.

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Rustic Plum Cake

Rustic Plum CakeI’m surprised that my kids don’t just love eating plums. I love them, and I remember loving them when I was little, too. But, my kids don’t. So, I yesterday many, many Italian plums from a big basket I bought at the farmer’s market that were starting to wrinkle, and the only solution, of course, was to make them into a cake. This recipe I’m just a fan of–of course, the almond meal and almond extract make it delightful, and I love the color that the plums seep into the cake. Incidentally, I have also used non-Italian plums in this recipe. I adapted it (just a little!) from the 2009 America’s Test Kitchen Annual. 

Rustic Plum Cake

2 T. red currant jelly or seedless raspberry (I used a Cherry, Raspberry, Rhubarb jam)
1 lb prune plums halved and pitted (about 10-12)
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. almond meal (which you can now buy at Costco! Hooray!)
3/4 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
6 T. butter, softened
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. almond extract

Melt jelly in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until just loosened and bubbling. Add the plums face down and cook until they shed juices and thick syrup is formed (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool while assembling the cake.

Grease and flour a 9″ springform pan. Preheat the oven to 350.

Mix almond meal and sugar until combined (in a food processor or by hand). Add flour, salt and baking powder and pulse or whisk to combine. Add the butter, and mix until batter resembles coarse sand (I usually do this by hand, also!). Finally add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract and process until the mixture comes together, but the batter will be thick.

Spread the batter in a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. Arrange the plum halves skin side down on the surface of the batter.

Bake until cake is golden brown and wooden skewer comes out clean, about 40-50 min. Allow cake to cool in pan on wire rack for 30 min. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Cherry Clafouti

Cherry ClafoutiI really love cherry season, and for some reason, cherries are the fruit I get most excited about baking with. I know this is strange–I think it has something to do with memories of Hostess Cherry Pies. Anyway, turns out that nothing from my kitchen has ever tasted like a Hostess Cherry Pie (I’m not really sure how they accomplish it, to be honest), but my adult tastes don’t enjoy them much anymore, anyway. So, if you’re interested in doing something with the cherries you’ve just picked up from a fruit stand, here’s a great option. A clafouti (which, I believe is pronounced “cla–foo-tee”) can be a dessert or if you live at my house, a breakfast food. Ina Garten’s recipes, which I’ve used here, calls for pears, but I’ve adapted it back to the more traditional cherries. Essentially, this is a custard (crepe-like) batter baked with fruit. It’s very simple to make and it looks great straight out of the oven, but stays quite hot, so if you’re serving it to kids, best to wait for 15 minutes or so (the cherries capture a lot of heat). This recipe is adapted from Garten’s Barefoot in Paris.

Cherry Clafouti

1 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 c. plus 1 T. granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
6 T. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. heavy cream (you can use milk here, it will just lessen the creaminess, which works for me!)
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 t. grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. almond extract
1 c. sweet cherries
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 10 x 3 x 1 1/2-inch round baking (pie) dish and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 T. of the granulated sugar.

Beat the eggs and the 1/3 c. of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, and almond extract. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pit the cherries either by slicing them in half or with a cherry pitter. Sprinkle the cherries in the baking dish, and pour the batter over the cherries. Bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

Cherry Clafouti 2(My husband liked this picture better, so I included them both!)