Concord Grape Muffins
Adapted from In Jennie’s Kitchen
Both Deb and Jennie recommend using a sharp paring knife to remove pits from Concord grapes. Cut grapes in half and use the tip of the paring knife to pick the pits out. I found that method to be laborious and somewhat frustrating. I discovered that if I take a grape half with the pit in it, and gently squeeze the pit with my thumbnails (while holding the little half with my fingers) nine out of ten times the pit would slide out gently. Sometimes, though rarely, the grape flesh would slide out of the skin, which didn’t bother me much – it was all going into the batter. In any case, the thumb-squeezing method worked much faster for me. It did, however, leave my fingers looking kinda dirty afterward. Well worth it for a good muffin, I say!
2 cups (8.5 ounces) flour
1/2 cup (4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon (11 grams) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) sea salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) cold butter, cut into 12 pieces
1 cup (8 ounces/225 ml) whole milk
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
8 ounces seeded concord grapes
2 teaspoons (10 grams) coarse sugar, for sprinkling tops (optional)
Preheat oven to 400F. Line one 12-cup standard size muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
In a microwave, heat together milk and rosemary sprig for about 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and let cool with rosemary sprig still infusing the milk. Set aside.
In a deep bowl, whisk together (aerate!) flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a deep bowl. Add butter and using a pastry blender, or your fingers (my preferred method), blend until it forms a sandy-looking mixture. Be sure to “rub away” any large chunks of flour covered butter. But don’t worry about pea-sized ones.
Checking to see the milk isn’t too hot, and after removing the rosemary sprig, pour in the milk and gently stir, using a wooden spoon, until just combined and there are no visible traces of flour. Gently fold in the grapes – it should take you a few folds, no more. Scoop into the prepared muffin tins and sprinkle tops with an even amount of coarse sugar, if desired.
Bake 20 minutes, rotating once midway, until tops are golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Don’t worry if you get grape fragments on it, what you’re looking for is a dry, not wet, crumb. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.