Summertime around here is almost indescribable. At this time of the year, hundreds of thousands of salmon are ascending our river. Many shades of green have raced to the tops of the surrounding hillsides and to the highest points of all but the very tallest peaks. From riverbanks to the edges of mountaintop snow patches, there are flowers popping open in every imaginable color. And now the first berries of summer are starting to ripen – salmonberries. It is a well-documented fact that Alaska’s wild berries have an astonishing amount of health benefits due to our long sunlit days. But that’s not really why we pick them and eat them. They are beautiful and luscious.
The rainbow of colors that adorn ripe salmonberries is bewitching. They can be found in alluring golds, bright oranges, and deep reds. They can be as small as raspberries or as big as what I like to call lunkers, berries as big as a yellow school bus. I have a strong affection for all berries, but salmonberries in my opinion are the most beautiful.
This muffin recipe is inspired by the classic dessert – Peach Melba. This dessert showcases the complementary flavors of poached peaches and fresh tart raspberries. I’m sure this muffin recipe could be improved with the substitution of fresh peaches in place of canned. But thousands of miles from a fresh peach, canned sufficed in my remote Alaskan kitchen. What makes these muffins work so well is the technique of tucking the berries into the middle – a lovely surprise for diners.
These muffins taste like a celebration of summer. We enjoyed ours this morning with a big cup of French Roast coffee, a fried egg and a thick slice of our friend Michelle’s homemade bacon. Now we’re fueled up and ready to go for a hike up one of those beautiful green-sloped mountains.
Salmonberry Peach Muffins
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- ½ of 15 oz. can peaches in light syrup, chopped
- ½ cup fresh or frozen salmonberries
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Grease 6-muffin tin (I use a silicone pan without the butter).
- In a bowl, whisk together sugar, egg, butter, and milk.
- Stir flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture.
- Carefully stir in chopped peaches.
- Evenly divide ½ of the batter into each muffin cup.
- Evenly divide salmonberries on top of batter.
- Cover salmonberries with remaining batter.
- Bake muffins until golden and springy to the touch, about 25 minutes.
- Let cool in pan on rack for about 5 minutes before removing muffins.
- Serve warm as part of a delicious summertime brunch.