They say necessity is the mother of invention and that is definitely the case at Frog Hollow Farm. Here, the necessity is to not let hundreds of thousands of pounds of fruit go to waste. This fruit is perfectly good but cannot withstand the rigor of retail or wholesale sales, due to it being too ripe or cosmetically imperfect.
About 5 years ago, we decided that we would try our hand at pureeing our off-grade fruit. We sent it to a processor, who took our fresh fruit, peeled it, pureed it and froze it. We created some great products with our frozen purees. By far the best was the scuffin.
We worked with a jam maker who took 20,000 lbs of puree (much more than our kitchen could handle) and made a jam (more like a thick sauce) out of the nectarine and peach purees. This jam is different from our conserves that we make here on the farm — it is smooth, as it is made from pureed fruits, and has higher sugar content than our conserves. From these jams, the “scuffin” was born.
The scuffin has an arid crumb-like texture of a scone but has the shape of, and is made in, a muffin tin. It was an instant hit at our Ferry Building café. It is very satisfying — not too sweet — and very filling. The flax seed meal gives it those dark flecks and a nutty flavor, which pairs so well with the jam.
We made two versions originally — an apricot filled version and another with peach jam, which goes well with the cardamom in the scuffin batter itself. We have long since used up the apricot and nectarine jams, but fortunately, our conserves work beautifully in the scuffins; the chunks of fruit in the conserves keep the dough from becoming soggy and are a congenial partner in flavor and texture with the scuffin dough.
So while the puree is gone and so are the jams, the scuffin remains! It was recently featured in The New York Times among the "most promising" combination food items available. [Read: Scuffins among The New York Times' 'Most Promising' Combination Foods]
- Authored by: Chef Becky