What finally led Deb Perelman, author of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, to create these recipe for plum poppy seed muffins occurred at a bakery one morning where she saw a basket of homemade muffins with the standard pairing of poppy seeds and lemon.
She decided it was time for poppy seeds to shine without being paired with lemons.
"Poppy seeds are delightful on their own," says Perelman, "faintly nutty bordering on fruity, but they also play well with fruit that is richer in flavor and texture than lemon."
Perelman adds, "Poppy seeds, plums, browned butter, brown sugar, and sour cream form a muffin that's rich with flavor, dense with fruit, and yet restrained enough to still feel like breakfast food."
These easy muffins are a real crowd-pleaser.
Plum Poppy Seed Muffins yield: 12 standard muffins
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams) unsalted butter, melted and browned and cooled, plus butter for muffin cups
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (50 grams) packed dark or light brown sugar
- ¾ cup (180 grams) sour cream or a rich, full- fat plain yogurt
- ½ cup (60 grams) whole- wheat flour
- 1 cup (125 grams) all- purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons (20 grams) poppy seeds
- 2 cups pitted and diced plums, from about ¾ pound (340 grams) Italian prune plums (though any plum variety will do)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Butter twelve muffin cups.
Whisk the egg with both sugars in the bottom of a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter, then the sour cream. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, 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.
- Surprisingly these muffins are twice as moist, with even more developed flavors, on day two. They're just a little less crisp on top after being in an airtight container overnight.
- You can dial back the sugar in most muffin recipes quite a bit and not miss much (though, if you find that you do, a dusting of powdered sugar or a powdered- sugar– lemon- juice glaze works well here).
- A little whole- wheat flour goes a long way to keep muffins squarely in the breakfast department.
- You can almost always replace sour cream with buttermilk or yogurt.
- Thick batters— batters almost like cookie dough—keep fruit from sinking, and the best muffins have extra fruit inside.
- In almost any muffin recipe, olive oil can replace butter, but butter—especially if you brown it—is irresistible.