Yep–that is NOT a picture of mini muffins. It’s a cake photo–a savory ham and gruyere cake photo. The outside looks bubbly cheesy, slightly crisp… and it hints at all of the yummy goodies inside: more cheese, sweet ham, crumbly cake dough. What you can’t tell by this photo is the fact that the center is goo… uncooked mush. I did the toothpick test after 50 minutes in the oven–it was clean as a whistle. I removed the loaf from the oven when the recipe told me to, did the toothpick test, let it sit to cool, and removed from the loaf pan. Took my photos and anxiously cut myself a slice. That’s when I first saw the goo. The oven was off at that point, so I fired it back up thinking “hmmm, maybe my oven temperature was off–I’ll give it another 20 minutes.” I removed it 20 minutes later–again, clean toothpick. And sadly again, goo in the center. I ended up having to cook this thing almost another hour until it was completely cooked through. Sigh… it was frustrating. By reading this, I imagine you’re thinking “it didn’t turn out… why are you posting this?” I really struggled with whether or not I should post it. I ultimately decided to post it for 2 reasons. 1) I think as readers, you should know about the things that don’t go right in the kitchen–and how a cook can rebound. 2) Even after almost 2 hours of baking time, it just tasted so so so good. Since the ingredient combination is so tasty–and the idea of savory cake is so wonderfully different–I decided to share this recipe to you as mini muffins. The recipe appeared in the New York Times this July and it presented 2 options to readers: a loaf or mini muffins. Mini muffins clearly would be a better choice. The total volume of each is much much much smaller–so the cooking-through part of the recipe will be easy peasy. Plus, mini muffins are just so darn cute and easy to serve. So here are some photos of the loaf version (eye candy purposes only) with the mini-muffin version of the recipe below. Today’s lesson from Olive to Cook: Don’t judge a book (loaf) by its cover.
Savory Ham and Gruyère Mini Muffins
Unsalted butter, softened, for brushing pan
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup olive oil
6 ounces baked ham, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 1/4 cups)
6 ounces Gruyère, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups) or half grated and half cut into 1/4-inch dice.
1. To make mini muffins, position 2 racks in upper third of the oven and heat to 425 degrees. Generously brush four 12-portion mini muffin pans with butter.
2. In a large bowl, whisk flour with baking powder, salt and pepper.
3. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk eggs, then whisk in milk and olive oil.
4. Using a rubber spatula, fold wet ingredients into dry until barely mixed. Fold in ham and cheese.
5. Scrape batter into loaf pan and smooth top, or using your finger, push a tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup.
6. Bake muffins until golden, about 15 minutes, switching pans between racks halfway through.
7. Transfer to a rack to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Muffins can be served warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 4 dozen mini muffins.