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Posted: 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012
Plum Poppy Seed Muffins
Poppy seeds are delightful on their own— faintly nutty bordering on fruity— but they also play well with fruit that is richer in flavor and texture than lemon. 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.
Generally, I think muffins are best on the first day, but these surprise me by being 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. A little whole- wheat flour goes a long way to keep muffins squarely in the breakfast department, and you can almost always replace sour cream with buttermilk or yogurt, but I like sour cream best. Thick batters— batters almost like cookie dough— keep fruit from sinking, and the best muffins have more fruit inside than seems, well, seemly. And, finally, in almost any muffin recipe, olive oil can replace butter, but people like you more when you use butter— and if you brown that butter first, you might have trouble getting them to leave.
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and browned and cooled, plus butter for muffin cups
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
3/4 cup sour cream or a rich, full- fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup whole- wheat flour
1 cup all- purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. table salt
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
2 cups pitted and diced plums, from about ¾ pound Italian prune plums (though any plum variety will do)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter 12 muffin cups.
Whisk the egg with both sugars in 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.
— From “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” by Deb Perelman (Alfred A. Knopf, $35)