Sometimes you know certain flavors go together well. Take peaches and ginger. They make a great match. There's ginger cookies served with fresh peaches, a little ginger in the whipped cream for peach shortcakes, and ginger and peach jam. It's a mix that works. But, every once a while, you come across a classic flavor combination done in a way that makes it even better than you knew it would be. The ginger and peach flavor mix in these muffins was a wow, like I'd never tasted it before. Freshly grated ginger is mixed into the batter along with chopped crystallized ginger, and fresh ginger is also added to a melted butter and honey syrup used to coat the peach slices that sit on top of each muffin. It could have been the one-two punch of fresh and crystallized ginger or maybe that peach season is winding down and I really wanted to savor these, but for simple muffins, these puppies caught me by surprise. They're from Good to the Grain which means they're also made with an interesting mix of flours in addition to the interesting flavor mix. Here, oat flour is combined with all-purpose and whole wheat flours for a very tender crumb and mild, nuttiness.
You start by grating lots of fresh ginger and letting that lovely fragrance start to fill your kitchen. A little of the grated ginger was added to a skillet along with butter and honey, and the rest was left in a mixing bowl. The butter and honey in the skillet was melted, and sliced peaches were added and coated with the syrup and then the pan was set aside. The dry ingredients were sifted together, and those included oat flour, all-purpose and whole wheat flours, sugar, dark brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, the wet ingredients were added to the remaining grated ginger including melted and cooled butter, whole milk, sour cream, an egg, and finely chopped crystallized ginger. Wet ingredients were mixed into the dry, and the batter was ready. In all the muffin recipes in this book, Kim Boyce recommends using only every other cup in a muffin pan. By leaving every other cup empty, the heat circulates well and the muffins rise better. I had learned of this trick from a different muffin recipe, and it really does work well. So, the batter was poured into every other muffin cup, each muffin was topped with two peach slices, and the syrup was spooned on top of the peaches before they went into the oven.
Of course they smelled amazing as they baked, and of course they looked pretty with the peach slices on top. There was no doubting that these were going to be good. I just had no idea how good. I thought I knew all about peaches with ginger, but it's nice to be taken by surprise like this.