One of my favorite flavor pairings is cornmeal and berries. I love how the sweetness of the cornmeal compliments ripe summer fruit. So far I’ve paired up cherries (both for pancakes and cake) and blueberries with cornmeal to wonderful effect. When we recently got a quart of sugar plums in our farm share I wondered if they might pair nicely with cornbread as well. I am smitten with the tangy sweetness of plums, even very sweet ones like these, and thought they’d lend a rich jamminess to ordinary cornbread muffins. I made up a quick batch this afternoon, and the results were fantastic. With a hint of whole wheat flour and a touch of sugar, these tasty little muffins just need a stint in the toaster oven and a big pat of butter to make your mornings perfect.
Though I used sugar plums here, any type of plum will do. If you are using a more sour plum you may want to up the sugar by a few tablespoons. I also think there’s no reason to stop with plums–any stone fruit or berry should sub in quite nicely.
Cornbread Muffins with Sugar Plums (adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook)
makes 12 large muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 – 1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup yogurt
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
2 cups plums, pitted and quartered
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place paper liners in your muffin tin and grease if desired.
In a medium bowl, combine the flours, 1/4 cup of the sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, stir together the yogurt and milk. In yet another bowl, beat the butter until pale and light, add the remaining sugar, and beat until well-combined, light, and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and beat in the eggs one at a time. Switch mixer speed to low, fold in half the flour mixture, half the milk mixture, and then the remaining flour and milk mixtures. Finally, fold in the plums, mixing just until combined.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup to nearly full. Place tin in the oven and bake for 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs.
Muffins will keep, well covered, at room temperature for a day or so. Serve warmed with a big pat of butter.