Last week, I took advantage of the last of the season’s blueberries with Blueberry Crumb Cake. This week, it’s time for peaches! Peach Ricotta Olive Oil Muffins, that is.
Seriously, is there anything better than a perfectly ripe, juicy peach? Or, nectarine?
There’s just nothing like biting into one that’s so juicy you practically have to drink it and eat it at the same time, or risk losing half of it as it gushes down your chin and continues down past your hand.
My friend has a few peach trees in his backyard. And yes, I’ve lamented more than once on this blog over not having access to those darn peaches for years now. That’s right. First the trees weren’t producing yet…or at least that’s how I remember it. (Hmm, or what I was told ;)
Then, the squirrels got to the harvest. The way he described it was like a kid sampling the different flavors in a box of chocolates.
He said the squirrels would take a bite and then throw the peaches to the ground. Over and over again. Ugh! That was the squirrel year.
Oh, and there were other years where he simply didn’t come to visit me in August when the peaches were ripe and ready for harvest.
He’s making the long drive and coming to visit me this week. Yep, that’s right. It’s August. I’m getting a visit from my dear friend with all the peaches…and guess what? No peaches :(
Sure, I heard aaallll about how lovely they were a week or so ago. How he had more peaches than he knew what to do with and how he invited his neighbors over to take as much as they wanted.
But…alas…I, his very good friend, missed the harvest window of opportunity :(
He called to warn me in advance of his trip that I missed the window. Again. I suppose it gave me time to come through the acceptance curve before his arrival.
Thankfully, all the peaches and nectarines in the world don’t come from his backyard. That’s right. I bought my own darn peaches! ;)
In addition to enjoying them right out of hand, I’ve made peach cobbler, and peach iced tea and nectarine ice cream. And now we’re having them for breakfast in the form of Peach Ricotta Olive Oil Muffins.
So, we’ve already talked about the peaches. Do we need to talk about Ricotta? (Probably not, but let’s do it anyway!)
Until then, for a special treat, just put a dollop of ricotta on top of your pancakes before you add your syrup. That’s what we do and it is delish!
Suffice to say that I love ricotta whether it’s for breakfast, dessert or dinner. It adds such a creamy richness to baked goods.
And what’s better than peaches ‘n cream? Or, peaches and creamy ricotta? Right. I knew I wanted to incorporate it into these muffins.
Some may cringe when hearing about an olive oil sweet. It happened to me when I made the Orange Olive Oil Cake. You could see the visible sense of distaste on my husband’s friend’s face when he heard about it. But it’s oil, just like any other. Nothing scary about it.
Over the years, I’ve pretty much replaced any oil I use in baking with olive oil. I use a mild olive oil for baking, but I have a friend who uses one with more intense flavor and loves it.
Since I had just made No Churn Nectarine Ice Cream, I already knew how fast it would be to peel the peaches by blanching them.
Normally, I do not look forward to that extra step, but since I was so recently reminded of how easy it was, I moved forward with no hesitation.
The peels come off without issue with the blanching method. You can see how pretty these peaches are. Not one blemish from fighting to peel off skin. It just pulls right off. I love how the blushy part of the peel isn’t only skin deep. Such a pretty color!
After I chopped the peaches, I blotted them dry with paper towels. I didn’t squeeze them, I just blotted them gently so that they didn’t add too much moisture to the batter.
And, yes. For those of you who read the Myth vs. Fact portion of my Blueberry Crumb Cake post, I did toss the peaches in flour before I added them to the batter. This was to prevent them from sinking. Skip the step if you want to. I didn’t want to risk it.
This batter is looser than the crumb cake batter. As long as you blotted your peaches dry, you’re good. Go ahead and fill those muffin cups almost to the top.
Since I added a bit of almond extract to the batter. I decided to echo that flavor with some sliced almonds on top.
Then, a generous sprinkling of turbinado sugar goes on top of the almonds. This coarse sugar is great for topping muffins and scones and pie crusts. It keeps it’s coarse texture and adds a nice sparkling crunch.
I didn’t make these muffins overly sweet. So that sugar on top helps add just a bit more sweetness to the over all muffin.
Pay attention to the temperature directions I give. I start the muffins out at a high temperature. This helps them rise up quickly. Then, I reduce the temperature to finish baking. Works beautifully.
Filling the cups and baking at the high temperature along with the ratio of ingredients in the batter should yield some beautifully domed muffins.
So go get yourself some beautifully ripe peaches or nectarines and make some Peach Ricotta Olive Oil Muffins!
Me? I’m going to torture my visiting friend about showing up sans fruit ;) And then I’m going to tell him that next year, he needs to clear the month of August…just for me. Then, when the peaches are ripe…
I’ll be ready and waiting :)
Peach Ricotta Olive Oil Muffins
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk I used 1%
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups diced fresh peaches
- 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
- Turbinado or other coarse sugar
- Sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese, olive oil, eggs, milk, vanilla and almond extracts until well combined.
Add the flour mixture to the ricotta mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently mix it until just combined.
Pat the diced peaches dry with a paper towel, place them in a bowl and toss them with the tablespoon of flour until lightly coated. Then fold the peaches into the batter. (See notes.)
Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin cups filling the cups almost to the top. (See photos in post)
Sprinkle tops with sliced almonds, then sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar.
Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees F, then, keeping the oven door closed, reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for another 8-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and either serve warm or move individual muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store lightly covered at room temperature.
*If you'd like a sweeter muffin, increase the sugar to 1 cup. I like the balance of a lightly sweetened muffin with a sweet topping.
*To easily peel peaches, cut a shallow "X" on the end of each piece of fruit. Place peaches in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove from boiling water and place in a bowl of ice water for a few second to cool down. Then remove from ice bath and peel by simply pulling the skin off. Skin should peel off easily.
*Be extra careful when cutting peeled peaches. They are very slippery. I always use a dish towel to hold them steady and always make sure my knife is pointing in a direction, that if it slips, it slips away from my hands.
*I chose to toss the peaches in a spoonful of flour to help reduce the risk of sinking. Sometimes I do this when I add fruit to muffins; sometimes I don't. I wrote about the Myth vs. Fact on this subject in my Blueberry Crumb Cake post. It's your choice to flour or not to flour. But, definitely pat them dry before adding them. You don't have go crazy patting them dry, just get rid of additional juice so that they aren't wet when you add them to the batter.
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