Not Your Average Corn Muffin

Not Your Average Corn Muffin

corn-muffin-joanne-chang

As a true fan of Joanne Chang, I am very well aware of the magical powers of creme fraiche. Yes, even the name sounds posh like it’s some coveted delicacy from the South of France. You see, creme fraiche is only sold at high end supermarkets here in Hong Kong, and people rarely know what it is and how to use it. Which is a great thing for me, because it always end up in the sale section.

corn-muffin-joanne-chang-whole

Creme fraiche means “fresh cream” and is a type of cream soured with bacterial culture. It is less sour than US-style sour cream, has a low viscosity and a higher fat content. To me it tastes like a tart version of clotted cream. Rich, thick, absolutely luscious…

Corn Muffin

Makes 12 large muffins.  Adapted from Flour.

This recipe is so effortless to put together, yet tastes absolutely wonderful. The flavour is straightforward; a tad sweetness of the cornmeal shines through the richness of the creme fraiche, which also gives a tender, soft crumb underneath the golden exterior.

2 3/4 cups (385 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 grams) medium-coarse yellow cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick/56 grams) unsalted butter, melted
3/8 cup (82 grams)packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup (240 grams) milk, at room temperature
1/3 cup (70 grams) canola oil
3/4 cup (180 grams) creme fraiche, at room temperature
3/4 cup (255 grams) raspberry jam (I omitted)

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the over to 350F. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin, coat with nonstick cooking spray, or line with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well mixed. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until it forms a thick slurry. In a second large bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended. One at a time, whisk the milk, then the oil, then the creme fraiche, and finally the butter-sugar slurry into the eggs. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and fold carefully, just until the dry and wet ingredients are well combined. The batter will be thick and pasty.
  3. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each prepared muffin cup. Spoon 1 tablespoon jam on top of the batter in each cup if using, then top off each cup with another 1/4 cup batter, making sure the cups are evenly filled. They should be filled to the rim.
  4. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until the edges of each muffin are golden brown and the center springs back when pressed with a fingertip. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan.
  5. The muffins taste best the day they are baked, but may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you keep them longer than 1 day, refresh them in a 300-degree oven for 4-5 minutes. Or, you can freeze them, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to 1 week; reheat directly from the freezer, in a 300-degree oven for 8-10 minutes.
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