Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Fresh Fig Muffins
When my husband and I purchased our home way back when, we were particularly thrilled that our backyard had a variety of fruit trees growing: orange, grapefruit, lemon, peach and fig.
During the summers, we would gorge ourselves silly with the bounty of peaches and figs that we harvested from our postage stamp sized backyard. I didn't do a lot of cooking and baking back then, so most of the fruit was eaten fresh, and what we didn't eat were shared with family and friends.
Fast forward 10 years, and it was time for us to embark on a massive home remodel. For various reasons, we had to relinquish the fruit trees had to go to make our outdoor living space practical and accessible. It was truly a sad day when our backyard was demo'ed, and we bid adieu to our fruit trees.
I miss those fruit trees, especially the fig tree. I've grown to love the lush, juicy texture, the slight crunch from the seeds, and the earthy sweetness of the ripe fruit. When figs are in season at the farmers market (which is right now), I will pounce on baskets of this delicious fruit.
I've always enjoyed eating figs very simply - fresh figs, chevre and honey is my favorite. Recently, I've started to explore cooking and baking with the fruit.
I've recently discovered that dried figs are a fantastic substitution for raisins and other dried fruits in recipes. Now, before the season is over, I want to explore recipes using fresh figs.
I thought that this recipe for fresh fig muffins would be a great start for me. These muffins are not fussy, and I like that.
These muffins are soft and fluffy, and the figs basically melt into the muffin. The dark brown sugar and cinnamon provide a subtle spiciness to the cake, but still allow the flavor of the figs to shine.
With the success of this recipe, I'll definitely be doing some more cooking and baking with figs with the few weeks left this summer. I found this list of "what to do with figs recipes" while surfing on the web, and I'm definitely going to take some of the suggested recipes for a test drive. If you have a tried and true recipe using fresh figs, I would love to hear about it!
Fresh Fig Muffins
adapted from The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco
makes 12 muffins
1 C AP flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 C buttermilk
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C dark brown sugar
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 C chopped fresh mission figs (5-6 figs)
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Generously butter a standard 12 cup muffin pan or line it with paper liners.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
In a second small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla.
Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar until well combined.
With the mixer at low speed, alternate adding the the dry and liquid ingredients - 1/3 flour mixture, 1/2 buttermilk mixture, 1/3 flour mixture, 1/2 buttermilk mixture, 1/3 flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
Remove bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the figs.
Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling them 3/4 full.
Bake until the muffins are a deep golden brown in color, 25-30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Then turn out muffins from the pan and let them cool completely on the wire rack.