Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Autumn friends

It is that time: now that I have had pumpkin pie, I can have what I wait for the moment that leaves start a changing. Pumpkin muffins. My ma used to make these with the inevitable leftover pumpkin puree in those much more than necessary for a pie cans, transforming her basic muffin recipe into something worthy of breakfast, snack, or dessert (add vanilla cream for the latter). When I left home, I took the recipe with me, and after turkey dinner, I would make a double batch (that is alot, youll see what I mean with the recipe) literally filling my fridge freezers with muffins and only muffins; no room for anything else, and why would there need to be. Each morning I would pull a few out, and each afternoon I would warm them a bit, grab a coffee, and for a few minutes escape the world of brain numbing University studies. At least if I was eating pumpkin muffins, it seemed as if I was reading Dickens for pleasure rather than for Victorian Lit.
Even though I am not in school anymore, and my favorite lattes could be combined with any of the wonderful financiers, tuilles, frangipans, or macaroons coming out of our pastry kitchen, I still made these this morning. My autumns would not be complete without them--actually, my autumns are epitomized by them. Truly.
So what is so great about a basic muffin+pumpkin, you ask? First of all, it is hardly a muffin at all. But it is not cake either, being not-too-sweet; not even close to a buttery scone; almost breadlike though; really, a baked good of its own category. The pumpkin gives the dough this incredible moistness, and fluffy yet dense texture. They are substantial yet light, scented with spice and with the earthy, natural sweetness of squash. And the perfect partner for lattes. See for yourself.
Pumpkin Muffins
Though this recipe makes 4 1/2 to 5 dozen muffins, I usually have to make two batches to last the season. Frozen once cooled, they rewarm as if fresh from the oven. I have changed my mas recipe slightly, as I have had plenty of autumns to experiment. And no, these are not dry-ass like most of my university baking.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together:
2 1/2 cups each whole wheat and AP flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 T baking powder
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 tsp each ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom
In a seperate bowl, whisk thoroughly:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree
Fold wet ingredients into dry and stir just to incorporate. Bake in prepared muffin tins at 350F for 20 minutes.

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