Thursday, March 01, 2007

Peach Passion Muffins

The other day when I was at Trader Joe's, I noticed the most unusual fruit in the freezer department. Now, when it comes to fruit, I always like to have fresh on hand for eating and frozen on hand for baking. After all - it can be difficult to get wild blueberries (which I adore in all kinds of cakes, muffins and scones) in January. The fruit I found on this particular occasion was sliced, peeled peaches that were passion fruit flavored - by which they seemed to mean that the stone fruit slices had been soaked in passion fruit juice before freezing. I didn't think that you can go too far wrong with either peaches or passion fruit, so I bought a bag.
When still cold, but slightly thawed, I could taste both fruit flavors in the peaches and they went splendedly with yogurt. Sticking to my original plan, however, I duitifully chopped up some of the slices and folded them into a batch of muffins. The passion fruit flavor didn't quite carry over in the way I had hoped, but I like to think it was there in a (very) subtle way.
Despite the lack of passion flavor and the rather plain look of these muffins, they were actually very good. I added a fair amount of vanilla, which blended nicely with the fruit. The peaches worked out perfectly and had a great texture - far, far better than what you'd get with any canned peach and much easier than working with a fresh one (especially in the off-season!).
The only change I would make to this recipe is that I would add a sprinkle of coarse/raw sugar to the top just to make them look a bit prettier

Vanilla Peach Muffins
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp vanilla extract*
1 ½ cups peeled, diced frozen peaches (unthawed)
coarse sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with baking cups.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk/beat together eggs and sugar for about a minute at high speed, just until fairly smooth, then add in oil and vanilla. Add in flour mixture and stir until just combined. Briefly stir in peach pieces. Divide evenly into muffin cups and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bbake at 350F for 18-22 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
These are best on the day they are made.
Makes 12 muffins.

*Vanilla paste, if you can find it, is a great substitute, since it will add attractive vanilla specks to your muffins.