I picked up my Honey Girl this morning from an early flight from Boston. She is my pearl, my sunshine, my joy. So it seemed fitting to make these pearl muffins and some shiny-wiggly, glowy-jiggly winter citrus jelly for her welcome-home breakfast. I took the syrup I boiled down yesterday from the candied winter citrus I made the day before and cooked it a bit longer. The pectin from all that pretty citrus brought it together into a honeyed jelly. I’m not usually a jelly lover. Give me jams and confitures, preserves and conserves, something that’s thick with fruit. But this sweet little jelly has such pure flavor it may have just converted me. You can taste the grapefruit and the cara cara and blood oranges, the tangerines, the meyer lemon and the kumquats, not individually so much, but as soft and bittersweet impressions. I love this kind of cooking, finding ways to use up everything that comes out of the kitchen. I’m going to smear the last of it between mini layers of brown butter almond cake in a day or two. The pearl muffins are a true muffin, none of this muffin as hunk-o-cake business. They are simple, too, not overly sweet, with a delicate crumb and the slightest tug. I baked them in a little pool of melted butter and with an extra sprinkling of raw sugar. My Honey Girl and I enjoyed some larded with the jelly. They were so good, but not as delicious as having her in the kitchen with me and home again. Life is sweeter when she is near.
Adapted from Edna Lewis’ The Taste of Country Cooking
Yield: 8 small muffins
2 T. unsalted butter
2 T. sugar
2 eggs, separated
½ c. whole milk
½ t. vanilla
2 t. baking powder
1 c. flour
1 T. unsalted butter, melted
a couple of tablespoons of additional sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Separate the eggs, the yolks into a small bowl and the whites into a medium bowl suitable for using with an electric beater or mixer.
- In a medium bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.
- Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat well.
- Sift in the baking powder, salt, and flour and beat only until combined. If you overmix your muffins will become tough.
- Wash your electric beater or mixer and beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Fold the egg whites into the batter.
- Pour about ½ t. of melted butter into the bottom of eight muffin cups in a muffin tin.
- Sprinkle them with sugar and divide the batter into them.
- Sprinkle with a little more sugar, just a pinch.
- Bake for seven minutes and then rotate the pan 180 degrees.
- Bake an additional eight minutes, or until they spring back when pressed gently.
Winter Citrus Jelly
Yield: about ½ c. jelly
1 batch winter citrus syrup (recipe here)
- In a small saucepan bring the syrup to a simmer over medium heat.
- Cook until it begins to thicken, stirring frequently.
- Transfer the jelly to a clean jar. It should keep for about a week in the refrigerator.