Satsuma and Pecan Muffin Recipe

Satsuma and Pecan Muffins

What better way to kick off a new and improved blog than with a muffin recipe? I sure can’t think of any other way, myself. Muffins are one of life’s breakfast joys – just like donuts. They’re not something I eat often, but they’re something I enjoy when I have the chance. To make these muffins extra special, I’ve turned to two classic South Louisiana ingredients – satsumas and pecans.

While many of you are nodding your heads in agreement with the satsuma choice, some of you may be wondering what exactly a satsuma is. It’s a relative of the mandarin orange, and like the mandarin, it’s juicy, sweet and very easy to peel. The satsuma is thought to have originated in Japan and then spread to the world from there. It’s also thought to have originated possibly in China. Either way, we’ve been having satsumas in South Louisiana since the late 1800’s. Over time it’s blossomed into an agricultural industry. Unfortunately, it’s one that’s lately been fraught with problems ranging from cold winters to natural disasters.

Satsuma and Pecan Muffins

Regardless of its plight, the satsuma is well-loved here in South Louisiana. The epi-center of our satsuma industry is in Plaquemines parish, just a couple hours’ drive from New Orleans. However, it’s the ease with which people can grow their own satsuma trees in their yards that has made this fruit so popular here. The trees are large and hearty. After a few years, a healthy tree can produce dozens of satsumas for a single family. It gets to a point where people are trying to give them away – which isn’t hard considering how popular they are around here.

Satsuma and Pecan Muffins

As I said before, the satsuma is an easy-peeling citrus so it’s popular here for eating just as is, above all else. However, satsumas can be used effectively in jam making and in baking – like I’ve done here with these muffins. Last year I made some satsuma marmalade and was very pleased with how it came out. What’s especially nice is that right now is about the height of satsuma season so they’re large and delicious – perfect for snacking!

Satsuma and Pecan Muffins

The satsumas used in this post and recipe came from Jeremy’s grandma’s tree in her backyard in Luling, just over the Mississippi river and a bit north of us here in New Orleans. Luling is in St. Charles parish (not Plaquemines), but people from that area love to boast about their delicious Luling satsumas. I have to say, they are pretty awesome. That particular tree is our main source of satsumas, and I feel fortunate to have such a good hook-up.

Another favorite in Louisiana is the pecan. Pecans are well-loved throughout the world – as evidenced by the ever-increasing price per pound we face. Growing affinity for this tasty nut in China is actually one of the factors pushing up our prices. The Chinese have finally caught on to how delicious and versatile this tree nut truly is. While the pecan is most popular here in South Louisiana for its use in both pralines and pecan pie, it is also widely used in other sweet and savory dishes. As it happens, pecans in muffins can be a delightful treat.

Satsuma and Pecan Muffins

Pecans are known and loved in the South because they grow well here. It’s not uncommon for people to have pecan trees growing on larger pieces of property. They can be really messy, though. They drop a lot of branches and pecans so it’s a constant upkeep underneath and around them. Not for small lots or the faint of heart. And they can be prone to diseases so they can be some work. However, they give a pretty steady source of free pecans so if you’re into working in the yard anyway, might be worth it to plant one.

The best thing about using pecans in muffins is that a little goes a long way. I chopped my pecans into small pieces and it ended up that half a cup of pecans was more than enough for this recipe. Considering that only weighs about a quarter of a pound, it’s a cost effective way to use pecans and to get some extra protein in this muffin.

Satsuma and Pecan Muffins

The pecans I used here in this recipe came from Hollygrove Market and Farm. They are organic pecans sourced from Inglewood Farm in Central Louisiana. They’re actually a farm transitioning into all organic foods eventually. That process can take a few years because the soil must be pesticide free for a certain period of time for the food to be considered organic. Inglewood produces some tasty, large and lovely pecans – my favorite kind!

Satsuma and Pecan Muffins

Wow,  you know what? We haven’t even really touched on how muffins are an American cultural food product. They are certainly among the culturally relevant food items in the American diet. We’ll save that discussion for next time, though. Perhaps I’ll make some blueberry muffins later this spring – those are an American classic, and we get fabulous local blueberries here in south Louisiana.

So what about you? Are you a fan of satsumas? Pecans? Muffins? All three? Tell me in the comments below. I’m going to try to flesh out some type of discussion starter in these posts as I get my feet wet a little more. For now, I’ll probably just stick with my classic format.

Until next time, happy eating! 🙂

Satsuma and Pecan Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Satsuma and Pecan Muffin Recipe

This tasty satsuma and pecan muffin recipe is the perfect way to use up some of the excess citrus of the winter months.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 satsumas (depending on size)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 ºF.
  2. Start by peeling the satsuma and then processing the satsuma sections in the food processor. Process until it’s a liquid-y pulp. Measure out 3/4 cup of the processed satsuma - this is what you will use in Step 4.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and kosher salt.
  4. In a separate smaller bowl, combine all liquid ingredients:  3/4 cup processed satsuma, beaten eggs, whole milk, and melted butter. Whisk to mix well.
  5. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and mix until all the flour is just moistened. The batter will still look lumpy. Do not over mix - muffin texture will suffer.
  6. Gently fold in the pecan pieces.
  7. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners then fill the cups 3/4 of the way full.
  8. Put into the oven immediately and bake for about 15 minutes. When done remove from oven and cool slightly before eating.

Prep:15 min

Cook:15 min

Total:30 min

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