Savory Corn and Basil Muffins with Ricotta and Tomato Jam

August 18, 2014
5 Ratings
  • Serves 30 muffins
Author Notes

Are these muffins or are they cupcakes? Who’s to say? They are certainly a savory variety of whatever you want to call them. Tomatoes and corn are my favorite summer treats, so why not put them into some kind of bastardized version of a cupcake? The corn and basil muffins themselves are great all on their own -- just slightly sweet with plenty of herbaceous flavor from the basil and a nice texture from the whole corn kernels. The tomato jam is wonderfully aromatic while it cooks and is a nice surprise when you bite into the muffin (that's topped with a rich, creamy ricotta, of course). It may seem strange, but I promise the flavors all work beautifully together. I brought these into work on Monday, unsure if people would be receptive or grossed out. They all seemed to really enjoy the muffins and the bounty that I brought in slowly disappeared, so I’ll count these as an experiment gone right. They are a great way to transition from summer to fall, and the jam itself is great on toast or rolls or even, dare I say it, in yogurt or cottage cheese. —CrepesofWrath

What You'll Need
  • For the tomato jam:
  • 2 pounds tomatoes
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
  • 1 1-inch piece of ginger, grated or finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • For the muffins:
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels only
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 handful basil, chiffonade (sliced thinly into ribbons)
  1. For the tomato jam:
  2. First, make your tomato jam. Dice your tomatoes and toss them in a hot pot over medium heat with your brown sugar, grated garlic and ginger, salt, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes. Turn the heat up to medium-high, stir to combine, and cook until the mixture is bubbling. Reduce the heat to medium and, stirring every so often so that the tomatoes don't burn, cook for 1 hour 30 minutes or so, until the tomatoes have thickened completely. Remove the tomatoes from the heat, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Allow the jam to cool. Remember that it will thicken up as it cools, so don't overcook the jam.
  1. For the muffins:
  2. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Beat together your brown sugar and butter until well combined, at least 3 minutes, then add in your eggs, one at a time, adding the next only after the last one has been fully incorporated. Scrape down the bowl as needed throughout this process. Add in your sour cream, and once it has been fully mixed in, add in the olive oil and mix until incorporated.
  3. Mix together your flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and black pepper. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the batter, then add 1/2 cup of your milk, allowing it to fully incorporate before adding another 1/3 of your flour. Mix, add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk, and finally add in the last of your flour. Scrape down the bowl and be sure that the batter is evenly mixed. Fold in your corn kernels and your chopped basil.
  4. Grease and/or line about 30 muffins cups. Fill each up about 2/3 of the way full with your batter, then bake for 20 minutes or so, until lightly golden and firm. Remove from the oven and allow the muffins to cool completely.
  5. For assembly, cut out a small hole in the top of your muffins using a paring knife or a cupcake corer. Fill each hole with your tomato jam, then use a piping bag or plastic bag with the tip cut off to pipe a small dollop of ricotta on top of each hole. Top with a few pieces of basil chiffonade. These will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but they are best served the same day.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Horto
  • petalpusher
  • lisa

6 Reviews

ANHDAO N. February 9, 2020
Can I make these without sugar?
petalpusher August 16, 2017
I just made these and they are delicious. The jam is very tasty with fresh tomatoes right from the garden. The next time I bake the muffins I will skip the step of coring and double the jam recipe to enjoy as soon as they cool. Split and slather with the jam and ricotta. I also incorporated the basil chiffonade in the ricotta with a tsp. of evoo to slow down the oxidation of the basil.
The fussiness of the muffin stuffing is not my cup of tea for this recipe.
lisa November 1, 2014
Could this be done with canned tomatoes? How would you suggest altering the recipe to allow for this?
petalpusher August 16, 2017
google the equivalent for the 2# of fresh tomatoes. Then you would reduce the cooking time.
Horto August 26, 2014
does this work as a loaf? as bake in a loaf pan?
petalpusher August 16, 2017
The batter is very dense and works perfectly for muffins. The whole sweet corn kernels would probably protest being sliced through and pop out, making a messy slice. If you were to tear it apart manually it would work, but the baking time would be so much longer with most likely over baked ends throughout. Just make the muffins.