Tuesday, July 19, 2011
PANCAKE MUFFINS WITH BERRY SYRUP
Today I qualified for Social Security. When I look in the mirror I don't see a 62 year old who's been retired for 7 years--I am blind as a bat and stand across the room from the mirror. I know it's true, though, because I have the time now to write this blog, to devote hours to my passion for quilting and beading, and because I could vacation for 2 weeks on what I spend for moisturizer in a year.
I recently spent 3 days at a Hudson River Valley Fiber Art Workshop at the Greenville Arms in the beautiful Catskill Mountains. Along with 8 other bead enthusiasts, I spent from 10-12 hours a day happily beading and laughing and, in general, having the kind of good time women have when they share a passion for art and living. The Greenville Arms is a lovely Bed and Breakfast and one of the specials on my last day was these pancake muffins with strawberry syrup. I did not try them, though they got rave reviews from all who did. I had already seen them on Chef Mark LaPolla's blog and decided to make them when I returned home. Since strawberries are no longer in season, I used some gorgeous fresh blueberries to make my syrup. I also halved the recipe, but got 12 muffins plus a small "cake" that resembled a Dutch baby.
Here is Mark's recipe with some notes from my experience:
Makes 24 muffins
Nonstick cooking spray
2-1/3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of pastry flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
6 large eggs, at room temperature, yolks and whites separated in two bowls.
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-1/3 cups buttermilk, at room temperature (in a pinch, milk with a tsp of white vinegar will do)
Prepare the Muffins:
Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Generously spray two 12-cup muffin pans with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until firm, but not dry. About 2 - 3 minutes. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the mixer on medium-high until thick, ribbony, and lemon-yellow. About 6 minutes. Add the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla; mix on medium-low until combined. Add one-third of the flour mixture and mix on low speed. Add one-third of the buttermilk and mix to combine. Alternate adding the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk, ending with the buttermilk and mixing until just combined.
With a large rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter, leaving some streaks.
Fill the muffin pans, about 1/2 cup of the batter into each muffin cup. Bake, rotating the pans after 10 minutes, until browned on top and puffed, and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out dry, about 20 to 25 minutes total.
Prepare the Strawberries in Syrup
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup quartered, hulled ripe strawberries (fresh blueberries were a wonderful substitution)
In a small saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil over medium-high heat. Put the strawberries in the syrup and turn off the heat. Set aside in a warm spot.
Pop the muffins out of the cups and arrange 2 to a plate, spoon syrup and strawberries of the muffins, and then sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
Have the sous chef take care of the dishes!
I didn't have pastry flour, but found a substitution using cornstarch. I was expecting these to behave and taste like popovers, but to my great surprise, they were a lovely cross between a cake-like muffin and a buttermilk pancake. Two was more than enough for a satisfying breakfast and, according to Chef Mark, they are even better after being frozen, defrosted, and reheated. A bit fussy to make, but a real treat for Sunday brunch.