These breakfast or anytime muffins, redolent with a deep dark coffee flavor, need no adornment, but since Fall is officially here today, I served my muffins with an chunky applesauce cooked in a red grape syrup called a mosto cotto. Traditionally, a true mosto cotto is made from wine grapes and while mine isn’t authentic, it tastes pretty good. This recipe comes from Carol Field’s book, “Italy in Small Bites”, a cookbook I use constantly. Rhiani from Chocoholic Anonymous chose the coffee break muffins for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie baking group.
2 pounds, plus 2 ounces red grapes
1 cinnamon stick, optional
2 cloves, optional
Zest of of 1/2 lemon, optional
Wash grapes and remove stems. Mash them in a bowl with a pestle or use a food processor with a shredding disk attached. Drain and press through a sieve to extract the juices. Add the juice to a large saucepan-you should have around 5 cups of grape juice. Add cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon zest if desired. Set the saucepan over low heat and slowly simmer for about an hour. Stir occasionally to redistribute the juices. Remove any froth that forms. Then, bring to a full boil and cook down to a thick syrup, about 1-1/2 cups. Remove cinnamon stick, cloves and zest. Set aside to cool before either freezing or placed in sterilized jars. Makes about 1 -1/2.
4 apples, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup mosto cotto
In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil, add apples and lemon juice. Cook on medium heat until apples are tender, not mushy and water is nearly cooked out. Add mosto cotto and simmer about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; serve at room temperature or chill. Makes about 2 cups. You can also make this with pears.