Corn & Basil Muffins

with tomato jam & ricotta

It seems as though I’ve been on a bit of a corn kick these past few weeks. I guess I just know that one day I am going to go to do my shopping and my beloved summer corn won’t be there anymore. So you could probably say that I’ve been cooking with so much corn out of fear. It’s a lot like that one year where there was a canned pumpkin shortage the week before Thanksgiving, so the next year I bought, oh, let’s just say an undisclosed number of cans of pumpkin. I definitely didn’t have excess cans for the entire year after that Thanksgiving. Nope. Definitely not. Whatever, though. I love sweet summer corn, and when I was asked to participate in the Bake a Difference program with OXO to raise awareness for cancer, I wanted to use corn in the recipe that I contributed. For every specially marked item sold, OXO will donate 25 cents in support of pediatric cancer research as part of its $100,000 pledge to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. You can help by purchasing specific products by them, listed here. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was founded by two OXO employees who were inspired by their son’s battle with pediatric cancer, so you know that this campaign comes from a genuine place. If you’re also participating in this program, share your recipes below!

Corn & Basil Muffins

Really enjoying one last weekend in the Rockaways.
Going back to the whole I’m-hanging-onto-every-last-bit-of-summer thing, Kramer, our friends Jessie, Shahab, and Catherine headed out to the Rockaways one last time this past weekend. The weather was perfect. About 78 degrees, perfectly clear and sunny, and just begging for me to eat a taco. Which I did, happily, along with some watermelon juice. I think we all felt like we had to do it right since we won’t be seeing that beach again until 2014. We had a beer before hitting the sand, then enjoyed some seaside frozen sangria, Japanese peanuts, chile pepitas and pancakes with salmon roe while laying on the beach and soaking up the rays (all while coated in a thick, sexy layer of SPF 50, of course). After it got too cold to lay on the beach itself, we walked around for a bit before grabbing one last beer and some lobster and crab rolls with salty chips and good dill pickles. Heaven on earth. The train ride back doesn’t even seem that long when I’m fat and happy. Until next summer, Rockaway!

Corn & Basil MuffinsLayers on layers.

Are these muffins or are they cupcakes? Who’s to say? They are certainly a savory variety of whatever you want to call them. Tomatoes and corn are my favorite summer treats, so why not put them into some kind of bastardized version of a cupcake? The corn and basil muffins themselves are great all on their own. Just slightly sweet with plenty of herbaceous flavor from the basil and nice texture from the whole corn kernels. The tomato jam is wonderfully aromatic while it cooks and is a nice surprise when you bite into the muffin, topped with a rich, creamy ricotta, of course. It may seem strange! But I promise the flavors all work beautifully together. I brought these into work on Monday, unsure if people would be receptive or grossed out. They all seemed to really enjoy the muffins and the bounty that I brought in slowly disappeared, so I’ll count these as an experiment gone right. They are a great way to transition from summer to fall, and the jam itself is great on toast or rolls or even, dare I say it, in yogurt or cottage cheese.

Corn & Basil MuffinsFrozen sangria, tacos, surf and sand.

Corn & Basil MuffinsFirst, roughly chop your tomatoes.

Corn & Basil MuffinsBring them to a boil with your other jam ingredients, then simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes, until thickened.

Corn & Basil MuffinsAllow to cool before using. You will have extra and it will keep well in the fridge for up to a week.

Corn & Basil MuffinsI used this red corn in my muffins – isn’t it cool?

Corn & Basil MuffinsBring your batter together and fold in your corn and basil.

Corn & Basil MuffinsBake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F, until firm and ever-so-lightly golden.

Corn & Basil MuffinsCorn & Basil MuffinsOnce cooled, you can core out the middles. And eat all of the extra pieces.

Corn & Basil MuffinsFill with jam, top with ricotta and serve.

Corn & Basil Muffins

Corn & Basil Muffins
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 30 muffins
Fresh summer corn folded into sweet corn muffins with aromatic basil, filled with savory tomato jam and topped with creamy ricotta cheese.
For the Tomato Jam:
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, cored and diced
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane or finely minced
  • 1 1-inch piece of ginger, grated on a microplane or finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the Corn & Basil Muffins:
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup sour cream
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels only
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
For Assembly:
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • basil, chiffonade (sliced thinly into ribbons)
For the Tomato Jam:
  1. First, make your tomato jam. Dice your tomatoes and toss them in a hot pot over medium heat with your brown sugar, grated garlic and ginger, salt, cinnamon and red pepper flakes. Turn the heat up to medium-high, stir to combine, and cook until the mixture is bubbling. Reduce the heat to medium and, stirring every so often so that the tomatoes don't burn, cook for 1 hour 30 minutes or so, until the tomatoes have thickened completely. Remove the tomatoes from the heat, taste and adjust seasonings as needed, then allow to cool. Remember that it will thicken up as it cools, so don't overcook the jam.
For the Corn & Basil Muffins:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Beat together your brown sugar and butter until well combined, at least 3 minutes, then add in your eggs, one at a time, adding the next only after the last one has been fully incorporated. Scrape down the bowl as needed throughout this process. Add in your sour cream, and once it has been fully mixed in, add in the olive oil and mix until incorporated.
  2. Mix together your flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and black pepper. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the batter, then add ½ cup of your milk, allowing it to fully incorporate before adding another ⅓ of your flour, mix, add the remaining ½ cup of milk, and finally add in the last of your flour. Scrape down the bowl and be sure that the batter is evenly mixed. Fold in your corn kernels and your basil.
  3. Grease and/or line about 30 muffins cups. Fill each up about ⅔ of the way full with your batter, then bake for 20 minutes or so, until lightly golden and firm. Remove from the oven and allow the muffins to cool completely.
For Assembly:
  1. Cut out a small hole in the top of your muffins using a paring knife or a cupcake corer. Fill each hole with your tomato jam, then use a piping bag or plastic bag with the tip cut off to pipe a small dollop of ricotta on top of each hole. Top with a few pieces of chiffonade basil. These will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but are best served the same day.


13 Responses

  1. The best muffin ever! I love the filling of jam, so creative for a muffin! You guys looked like you had a lot of fun, What fruity drink are you drinking in that picture? it looks delicious!

  2. Living in the south, a common choice at the dinner table is biscuit or cornbread. I will always pick cornbread, hands down. This looks like a delicious twist on your basic carb accompaniment. In fact, looks like something I could easy make the center of my meal. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Anna says:

    I definitely did the same thing when the “pumpkin shortage” was announced. I love the layers on those muffins, they look soooo good!!!

  4. Tieghan says:

    Hands down, these are the best corn muffins of the summer! The jam filling (INCREDIBLE), all the fresh basil and the ricotta cheese! So many awesome layers!

  5. Sydney,
    I just recently come across your blog and I love it! I’m from Arizona too —at least the last 23 years. After visiting NY last spring for the first time I can see why you like it so much; I fell in love with the city and Brooklyn. But… returning to the blog. I was wondering. Where are the crepes? I ask in a lighthearted manner, but with a name like “Crepes of Wrath” and only one crepe recipe in the index? Don’t worry, that won’t stop me from visiting again.

  6. ning says:

    this looks delicious! i was wondering how long you think the tomato jam will keep?

  7. Sasha says:

    Savory cupcakes? My, my Sydney. You are really on to something here.

  8. I’m hanging on to summer too! It has been so wonderful and I’m not nearly ready to give it or all the awesome food up. These muffins are the perfect use of corn!

  9. Haha!! You guys are so pumped up for life. I haven’t seen red corn before but you have made me very jealous.

  10. Looks delicious, I really gonna taste it… Love your recipe.I am too much confuse about the new recipe, because my sister b’day is going on..thanks for helping me out…

  11. […] Corn and Basil Muffins from Crepes of Wrath […]

  12. […] recipe adapted from Crepes of Wrath (makes about 10) and tomato jam recipe adapted Mark Bittman Featured art: Théodore Géricault, […]

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