Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pumpkin Muffins x 2

Pumpkin Muffins

What autumn would be complete without pumpkin muffins? Certainly not a typical autumn in Pittsburgh, when bakeries, street vendors, workplaces, and Starbuckses are brimming with pumpkin pies, cakes, breads, rolls, scones, and lattes.

Pumpkin desserts seem tied to thoughts of limited availability. They also seem to incite seasonal compulsion; last week I overheard several people saying they were hopelessly addicted to the glazed pumpkin cookies at Eat Unique. I've also seen people chase a venti pumpkin spice latte with a pumpkin cream cheese muffin.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing, or that i'm immune. I quite enjoyed Dozen Bakeshop's baked french toast with pumpkin/cream cheese custard today, and I have plans to try some more pumpkin pie recipes. I do wonder how this phenomenon evolved, and whether it significantly impacts food sales.

As much as I enjoy pumpkin, I haven't found a favorite pumpkin muffin recipe. Before my trip to Paris, I tried two different recipes: one from Belinda Jeffery's Mix and Bake and one from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From my Home to Yours.

I can't say which I liked better, since they were completely different. Jeffery's recipe (pictured in the front) has a rich, cake-like texture, a strong nutmeg flavor, and a delicious cinnamon sugar and walnut topping. Greenspan's recipe is simpler with a more balanced spice blend, but the resulting muffins reminded me more of biscuits than cakes. They'd be good spread with butter or jam.

I will print both below and leave you to decide which you prefer. I'm also planning to try the recipe from Sara Foster's Fresh Every Day. I'd love to know if any of you have recipe recommendations.

Spicy Pumpkin, Pecan, and Maple Muffins
adapted from Belinda Jeffery's Mix and Bake
1 cup pumpkin or butternut squash pulp
1 cup (150g) all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (80g) (I added extra all purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
120g toasted pecans or walnuts
120g raisins or dried cranberries
2 eggs
1/2 cup (110g) brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup light olive oil (I used melted butter)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup (55g) sugar
1/4 cup (40g) chopped pecans or walnuts
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat your oven to 200C/350F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin, or line the cups with paper liners.

2. Combine the flours, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a large bowl and whisk them to combine. Add the nuts and raisins and toss them about to coat in the flour mixture. Set aside.

3. Lightly whisk the eggs in another bowl, then add the remaining ingredients and the cup of mashed pumpkin. Whisk them together until thoroughly mixed.

4. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the pumpkin mixture. Stir them together until just combined; the mixture will be quite loose and sloppy so let them sit for 1 minute to thicken up. Divide the batter among the muffin holes, filling them to the top.

5. For the topping, stir all the ingredients together. Sprinkle the topping mixture thickly over each muffin.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool muffins in the tin on a wire rack for a few minutes, then turn them out onto the rack to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pumpkin Muffins from Dorie Greenspan


Berry (Erin Phraner) said...

Both muffins look sublime! I wonder, what did you preferred from each recipe?

Lisa said...

I preferred the texture of the first muffin. Softer, with a bigger ratio of nuts/raisins to cake. The cinnamon sugar topping was fun too.

Dorie's recipe had a cleaner pumpkin flavor- the other recipe is rather overwhelmed with nutmeg and maple syrup, though I don't mind because I like those flavors.

Chandani said...

hey, you have a wonderful blog...your recipes look so delicious!!

Lexi B. said...

What kind of camera are you using?! It (and you!) take stunning photographs.

Pittsburgh Needs Eated said...

Hi Lexi-

I'm using a Canon Rebel xti. I only have two lenses- this one's a 50mm f/1.4

Leah said...

Hi Lisa -

I've been following your blog for a while and the first muffins are your second recipe I tried. I baked them this morning - they are delicious! They are so soft and moist, the topping is wonderful and the pecan and maple flavors really shine. I did notice, like you mentioned, that the pumpkin flavor isn't too strong. It seems to enhance the texture more than anything.

Irene said...

I really like the Dorie Greenspan recipe because of its simplicity. I made it as a loaf, not muffins, so maybe that made a difference (and also, a nice splash of brandy). I am one of those who loves the pumpkin flavor in everything during the fall, so I really have to try the other muffins! Thanks for the recipe!