Into the Bowl Muffins

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

-Muffins! A good way to use all the leftover crud in your pantry.-

What do you do with seven figs, and old asian pear, a fist-full of raisins and leftover buckwheat flour?

You make some goddamn tasty muffins. That's what you do.

If there is anything that my Ojai grandma and the poverty of college taught me it's that you don't waste food. With adults chanting this to me over the dinner table like Tuvan throat singers this basic truism drilled itself into my brain making it impossible to forget. So, when I came into work and cook/gardener/builder/co-worker Marco handed over to me a bag of produce from his garden that was on the precipice of overripe it meant I had to use them that frickin' night.

Some of the fruit, however, was over the precipice. Over, fallen, and splattered on the floor which, when it comes to figs, means they had fermented something fierce. Figs are nature's little distilleries. Quick to sloshy from sweet, it's surprising you don't see more fig brandies and liquors out there. However, I make do with just eating figs with a big glass of teeth rattling ouzo.

A few figs, sadly, did have to be tossed as they didn't pass the Eat Beast test (If even Eat Beast won't eat it, it's must be bad). Those that survived were diced up and tossed into a bowl. I took the pear - dark brown and ripe to the point it almost where the slightest bit of pressure released an eau de vie breeze - and gave it a quick chop and tossed it, skin and all, it into the bowl, as peeling it would have been impossible. Plus, I'm lazy.

I chucked in a few raisins as well; there were only a few in the box. In my house raisins live for oatmeal season and the nippy October mornings are still a ways off. These were probably six months old. Into the bowl.

Leftover buckwheat flour? Into the bowl. Ancient jar with smattering of cinnamon that was probably purchased when Ginger Spice was still a Spice Girl? Into the bowl.

Might as well clean out, right?

Into the bowl is a good way to describe the recipe. I based it off a King Arthur Flour apple muffin recipe, but I was more liberal than a PETA convention with it. The recipe that follows is mostly guesstimate, but the flours, milk, baking soda and powder are in the right proportions. I don't think you can go wrong with this as it's pretty darn foolproof.

Either way, it resulted in some damn fine muffins. The figs make these very moist with a good heavy crumb. The pears add a nice crunch and the bit of cooked brown sugar on top razzle dazzle the whole thing. A great way to use up any leftover ingredients you have lying around. It'll make grandma proud.

-Figgy goodness.-

Into the Bowl Muffins
Feel free to play with the fruit, flour and spices. You can use all all-purpose if you want and change the fruit to whatever you want. Use vanilla extract, mace, ginger, whatever rocks your socks.

1 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup of buckwheat flour, or however much is at the bottom of the bag; feel free to debate this
as much salt as seems necessary
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar, beat it up if it's old and rocky cause you bought it at a shady convenience store
1 cup of buttermilk, or milk with a good squeeze of lemon juice
1 egg, lightly whisked
6 or 7 figs, if they're only a teensy bit fermented use 'em anyways, kids love that stuff
1 asian pear, though two small ones could do, peel them based on how energetic you're feeling as you read this
raisins, whatever you decide is "about that much"
luck, if you have any, probably helps (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. In a bowl mix the all-purpose flour, buckwheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl mix the buttermilk and egg. Set both aside.

3. Beat butter, sugar, and 1/4 cup of brown sugar at medium speed for a few minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom once or twice.

4. Add a bit of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat in. Then add a bit of the liquid mixture and beat. Continue this dry-wet-dry method, ending with the dry.

5. Fold in the fruit.

6. Scoop into cupcake papers. Using the leftover brown sugar, sprinkle a bit onto each muffin.

7. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for a moment before removing from the cupcake tray and allowing them to fully cool on a wire rack. Devour.


  1. haha! loved this! had me giggling start to finish.

    also? reminded me that i have a zuke in the crisper nearing the finish line. looks like muffins for the win.

  2. Ok…um…I'm probably missing something…but I stumbled on this recipe and decided to try it…and just discovered that I'm not sure when to add the figs, pear, and raisins. Help…?

  3. Wait, you have an Ojai family too? I'm an Ojai girl ... damn California is a small world.


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