A breakfast muffin or snack from Smitten Kitchen's Deb Perelman. "What finally led me here was, innocently enough, a basket of boring-looking lemon poppy seed muffins at a bakery one morning; they got me wondering when poppy seeds would come untethered from lemon's grasp. Poppy seeds are delightful on their own — faintly nutty bordering on fruity — but they also play well with fruit that is richer in flavour and texture than lemon. Inspired, I went home and, a short while later, finally pulled a muffin out of the oven I'd change nothing about. Poppy seeds, plums, browned butter, brown sugar, and sour cream form a muffin that's rich with flavour, dense with fruit, and yet restrained enough to still feel like breakfast food."
6 tbsp (3 oz.) 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 of ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 cups pitted and diced plums, from about 3/4 lb. Italian prune plums (though any plum variety will do)
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 375°F. Butter twelve muffin cups.
Step 2: 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.
Step 3: Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the tops are golden and a tester inserted into the centre 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.
Do Ahead: Generally, I think muffins are best on the first day, but these surprise me by being twice as moist, with even more developed flavours, on day two. They're just a little less crisp on top after being in an airtight container overnight.
Note: I've learned that you can dial back the sugar in most 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). I also learned that a little whole wheat flour goes a long way to keep muffins squarely in the breakfast department; that 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.
See more recipes from Deb Perelman.
Reprinted with permission from Deb Perelman's The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (2012 Appetite by Random House).