I must admit, I’d never done anything with Concord grapes before now.
I think maybe they don’t exist in Montana, or at least I never came in contact with them there. Not that they are particularly easy to find in Maine—I didn’t really look for them at the farmer’s market, but I don’t remember seeing them. But someone in the office brought a bunch in, so I took them home, hoping the Internet could help.
Turns out the Internet is correct about Concord grapes, and that is that they take FOREVER to seed. Especially in the large quantity that I had. I had been warned and thus was mentally prepared, so I listened to about 5 episodes of Radiolab and called a couple friends and it really wasn’t too bad, but you must also be ready.
I found a couple recipes for focaccia, and one for pie (which I made later), and then later made a grape-apple crisp, which I am currently enjoying A LOT. But I decided to start with muffins, based on the recipe from In Jennie’s Kitchen.
Her recipe is a bit odd for muffins, honestly—it’s more like a scone recipe, cutting in cold butter, no eggs. I decided to add an egg to keep it moist longer and made a few other substitutions (brown for white sugar, yogurt instead of milk and therefore more soda and less powder, to balance the acidity). And I think they turned out quite well, thank you, not too sweet and with little sour juicy patches where the grapes are hiding.
Concord grape muffins 2 cups flour (I used 1.5 white, .5 whole wheat pastry flour) 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces 1 cup yogurt, as much whey (the liquid) as possible; you can stir in a little water to thin it if necessary Or, 1 cup milk; use more baking powder and less soda A splash of vanilla 1 egg 8 oz seeded concord grapes
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Butter 12 muffin tins. If you want smaller muffins, you may need a few more—or do what I did, and bake the extra batter in a bowl.
Mix together the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter so there are small (pea-sized) pieces. Stir together yogurt, vanilla, and egg, then add to the dry ingredients, mixing just until the flour is moist. Finally, fold in the seeded grapes, including skins.
Separate batter into the muffin tins, filling most of the way. Like I said, you may have a little extra; put it in a buttered bowl or small dish and bake it alongside the muffins.
Bake for around 20 minutes, until you get a clean toothpick and the tops are golden. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then gently slip a knife around the edge of each muffin to loosen it, popping them out of the pans.
Enjoy warm, with extra butter if you’d like, and a nice cup of tea.