While rhubarb works wonderfully in baked goods, baking strawberries into scones or muffins can be a little bit more of a challenge. Though delightfully sweet and fragrant when fresh, baked strawberries have a tendency to become watery and bland. This recipe solves that problem by macerating the diced rhubarb and strawberries with sugar before folding them into the muffin batter. Doing so not only draws out excess moisture from the strawberries, but also gets a head start on breaking down the fibrous rhubarb. This recipe calls for an ample amount of sugar, which balances the tartness of the rhubarb and helps create wonderfully browned and chewy muffin tops. Finally, the cornmeal in this recipe adds great texture and gives the muffins a rustic finish. Opt for medium-grind or stone-ground cornmeal, if you can find it, but fine cornmeal works well, too.
- Serves: 12 persons
- Nonstick cooking spray (optional)
- 1cup small-diced fresh strawberries (about 6 ounces/170 grams)
- 1cup small-diced fresh rhubarb (about 4 ounces/113 grams)
- 1 ¼cups/250 grams granulated sugar
- 8tablespoons/113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and slightly cooled
- 2large eggs, at room temperature
- 1cup/227 grams sour cream
- 1teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 ½cups/192 grams all-purpose flour
- ½cup/60 grams medium-grind or fine cornmeal
- 2teaspoons baking powder
- 1teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾teaspoon baking soda
- ¼teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1tablespoon Demerara or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
Step 1Heat the oven to 400 degrees and line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. (If not using a nonstick pan, spray the exposed metal with nonstick cooking spray.)
Step 2Combine the strawberries and rhubarb in a medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon sugar; toss and set aside. Place the rest of the sugar (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons), along with the melted butter and eggs, in a large bowl. Whisk vigorously for about 30 seconds, until the yolks are pale and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Add the sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest, and whisk just until smooth.
Step 3In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. (Be careful not to overmix.)
Step 4Transfer the fruit mixture to a strainer set over a bowl or the sink. Toss with a spoon, allowing any excess liquid to drain. (The amount will vary depending on the ripeness of the berries.) Discard the liquid and add the fruit to the batter, folding it in until just combined.
Step 5Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups. (The cups will be very full and slightly heaping.) Sprinkle the tops with the Demerara sugar and bake for 18 to 23 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.
Step 6Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then carefully transfer them to a rack to cool completely. The muffin tops may spread into each other slightly as they bake; simply cut the tops apart with a paring knife when the muffins come out of the oven and immediately run the knife very gently under the edges of the muffin tops to release them from the pan, being careful not to separate them from the bottoms.