Sunday, June 20, 2010
Happy Father's Day!
Stereotyping of men never is at a more fevered pitch than on Father's Day. This is the day when, according to just about anyone who sells something, you should recognize Dad's deep abiding love of golf, fishing, power tools, using the TV remote or, of course, wearing and owning ties. These people have not met my father, because that's practically a short list of things he doesn't like (in fact, more than a few of those items he actively detests). Which is not to say my father is without interests. He is in fact, incredibly passionate about many things: travel, baseball, wine, music, movies and food. Oh yes food. Because when my father is passionate about food, it becomes an obsession. We've hunted all through France for the best tart citron. He calls orchards to hunt down his favorite Northern Spy apples. But there are few things that he is as passionate about as is he about blueberries. In fact, he's tried blueberries from just about everywhere until he's found the best. Because all blueberries are not created equal. Some are delicious and full of berry flavor while others are mealy and slightly bitter. It's not your imagination. So my dad knows exactly which type are the best, and where they are grown and actually has a contact so that he knows when he can get the best kind. And some of the luckier blueberries get to be baked into Jordan's Blueberry Muffins.
Jordan's Blueberry Muffins are somewhat of a New England institution. Or they were until the famed Jordan Marsh department store closed, leaving millions of people full of longing. Recreating the muffin, or finding someone else who can has become something of a quest for New Englanders ever since they stopped being readily available. Over the years, many recipes have surfaced, which surprisingly, are actually all very similar (which lends them some credibility). Here's the one my family has been using to showcase the very best blueberries my father can find.
Happy Father's Day Daddy!
JORDAN'S BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
or something pretty darn close
1 stick butter
1 C sugar (plus 1/4 C for topping)
1/2 t salt
2 (1/2) t baking powder - the recipe we use calls for 2 1/2 t baking powder but many call for only 2 t.
1/2 C milk
2 C blueberries - you can use fresh or frozen
(1 t vanilla - we've never used this, but many recipes for Jordan's muffins call for it)
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
In a stand mixer (or large bowl) cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and mix until well incorporated. If you were going to use vanilla, I'd use it now. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients - the flour, salt and baking powder. Then add it to the creamed butter/sugar mixture in stages, alternating with the milk. Mix well. Then if you're adding fresh berries, add 1/2 C of them and mix with the mixer, then remove and fold in the remaining berries by hand. If you're using frozen, you can just put them all in at the same time.
There doesn't appear to be any consensus, but I'm all for greasing the muffin tin, including the top so that the muffin tops don't stick. You want to fill each cup to the top and then sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
We've always baked at 375 for the whole 25-30 minutes, but many recipes seem to have the temperature at 450 to start for 5 minutes then lowered to 375 for the remaining 20-25 minutes.