institue of Culinary Education. In a nutshell

Recipe: Upside Down Cranberry-Pistachio Muffins

 The silky green color of these non-traditional muffins is slightly obscured by the bright garnet cranberries, but take one bite and you’ll know the pistachios are there. To ensure that the miniature crowns of nuts and berries atop them stay in place when you flip them over, use paper liners in your muffin tins and coat the papers lightly with nonstick spray before adding the nuts and compote. The compote is also spectacular by itself; we even serve it with pancakes or waffles instead of syrup! Or, for a really indulgent treat, eat it with a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

In a Nutshell_Upside Down Muffins pic



Upside Down Cranberry-Pistachio Muffins


YIELD: 18 muffins

EQUIPMENT: One 12-cup muffin tin and one 6-cup muffin tin lined with paper liners and lightly coated with nonstick spray

For the Cranberry Compote

  • 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest

For the Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄4  cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 1⁄2 cups (7 1⁄2 ounces) coarsely chopped pistachios


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Make the cranberry compote: combine the cranberries, sugar, orange juice and zest in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until the cranberries have burst and the compote begins to thicken about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Make the muffins: stir the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the milk, melted butter, eggs, vanilla and orange zest together in a separate bowl. Fold the wet mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix.
  4. Sprinkle a tablespoon of pistachios in the bottom of each prepared liner. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the cranberry compote over the pistachios. Spoon the muffin batter over the cranberries so that each liner is slightly less than two-thirds full. Since these muffins are served upside-down, filling the liners a little less than you do with other muffins will avoid a large crown on the top after they have risen, so be careful not to overfill the liners.
  5. Bake until the muffins are well risen and firm when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 to 20 minutes. Do not insert the toothpick too far, or you may reach the cranberry compote and get an inaccurate reading of doneness.
  6. Allow the muffins to cool completely in the tins on racks. Remove them from the tins, peel off the paper liners, and serve them upside down on a plate or platter.

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Reprinted from In A Nutshell: Cooking and Baking with Nuts and Seeds by Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian. Copyright © 2014 by Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Gentl & Hyers. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.