Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blackberry Buckwheat Blossoms

When I met Fairhaven miller Kevin Christenson, he told me that buckwheat flour was his favorite and that he always added it to whatever he baked, mostly scones. I asked whether he might be willing to share a recipe but he demured. He said he was no baker, he just picked whatever scone recipe was on hand when he made breakfast for his family and replaced part of the all-purpose flour with buckwheat. So I started looking for a scone recipe I could use but most of the ones I found involved butter and since we are just recovering from the holidays, I thought, no butter, no, thank you, not this time.
That's when I remembered Plum Gorgeous: Recipes and Memories from the Orchard, a lovely book by Romney Steele which I couldn't resist buying last fall. Browsing through it, I found a recipe for butterless blackberry polenta muffins. Now my freezer is chokeful of blackberries I picked over the summer in the lanes around our house. I have already made blackberry jelly and blackberry frozen yogurt but I still have lots and lots. So why not bake muffins that would remind us of long walks in the hills along fragrant hedges? 
Except for the cornmeal which I bought in bulk at the natural food store nearby without checking where it came from (or if I did check, I forgot), I used all organic Fairhaven Mills flours. The original recipe calls for all-purpose flour and polenta or stone-ground cornmeal. I used the cornmeal as indicated but kept only one third of the all-purpose flour substituting white whole wheat and buckwheat for the rest. I also decreased the amount of sugar (we like sweet baked goods to be just on the cusp of enough sugar. The original recipe uses over a third more than I do. If you have more of a sweet tooth, by all means dial it back in.)
I don't know of any other wild berry that packs as much aroma and taste as Washington's plump blackberrry (the two varieties that grow in our neighborhood each have their own distinctive flavor). Since the berries go into the batter still frozen, they poach gently during the baking, becoming so marvelously juicy that they burst in the mouth with every bite.  As for the buckwheat and the cornmeal, they are perennial favorites. I have already made these muffins twice and we can't get enough of them. So here is to you, Kevin Christenson! Thank you for these beautiful flours. Next time I pop over, I'll bring you a batch... 

Ingredients: (adapted from Plum Gorgeous)
  • 80 g all-purpose flour
  • 80 g white whole wheat flour
  • 90 g buckwheat flour
  • 90 g stone-ground cornmeal (or fine polenta)
  • 70 g sugar
  • 15 g baking powder
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 eggs
  • 160 g whole milk
  • 52 g extra-light olive oil (safflower or other vegetable oil can be used as well)
  • 130 g frozen blackberries (+ 12 for topping) (do not thaw before folding into the batter)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C
  2. Line 12-muffin pan with paper baking cups
  3. Combine flours, polenta and baking powder in a bowl. Mix well. Add sugar and orange zest
  4. Lightly whisk together eggs, milk and oil in separate bowl, then stir in the flour mixture
  5. Fold in the berries
  6. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Top with a blackberry if desired
  7. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

The Blackberry Buckwheat Blossoms are going to Susan for Yeastspotting, her weekly roundup of breads and other baked goodies.

Related post: Meet the Miller: Kevin Christenson


  1. Hi! I just found your blog this morning. Love it! I must ask, "Where did you find the darling paper muffin cups?" The muffins are beautiful. I have some whole buckwheat and might try grinding it into flour. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  2. Thank you, Beth, and welcome to Farine. I cannot be 100% positive because I have had these muffin cups for a while but I think I bought them at Sur La Table.

  3. Hello MC,
    It is snowing here today, and those beautiful blackberry muffins are bringing me back to summertime and picking warm, sweet, sun-ripened blackberries from the vines :^)
    Those Fairhaven flours, cornmeal, and local blackberries must be delicious in those muffins!
    I couldn't help searching for those pretty blossom muffin papers, and found some here (scrolling down they are listed as Petal Standard Baking Cups):

    Lovely photos and recipe - thank you so much!
    :^) Meeghen

  4. Wow, Meeghen! So glad you found an online store for these little cups. I see they come in different colors too. Lovely! I hope your muffins turn out. Just what the doctor ordered for this blustery winter day, right? Thank you for checking in.



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