Jordan Marsh was a retail institution throughout New England, beginning in the mid 19th century, until it was purchased by Macy’s in 1991. In this ‘blog, we aspire to find New England recipes, often found in old cookbooks, or passed down in families. As odd as one may find it, this particular recipe is the stuff of local legend, and could not be a more fitting delicacy for our consideration. Simply put, Jordan Marsh sold everything, baked goods included.
The famous Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffin recipe has been floating around for years, but is it the right one? I’m not sure anyone knows the truth. The Jordan Marsh Blueberry muffin was initially developed by Edward Lawrie, who was the manager of Jordan Marsh Co. Bakeries. He became the manager in 1945, and 5 years later created his recipe for the blueberry muffin, which became extremely popular, especially among Bostonians.
After Mr. Lawrie taught a Mr. John Pupek his methods, he retired, and John took over the management of the Jordan Marsh Co. bakeries and continued until Jordan Marsh became defunct in 1991. After this, he opened his own bakery called the Jordan Marsh Muffin Co. and continued to use the same recipe for the blueberry muffins. That he continued to invoke the name, “Jordan Marsh Muffin,” in his bakery speaks to the fondness New Englanders feel towards this particular item.
In the past, people had tried to get the famous recipe from Jordan Marsh, which they would not give up. One of the reasons being the fact they mass-produced the muffin batter, and it would be impossible to scale it down for the home baker. After reading a few articles and interviews, John Pupek made some revelations; that most recipes claiming to be the original Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins were not the right one. In April 2016, John had done an interview with WCVB Boston about the Blueberry Muffin, and during this interview, he had mentioned creaming the sugar and shortening together; most of the recipes I found called for butter not shortening. My curiosity kicked in, knowing the recipe was started in 1950 when shortening was used more often than butter. Yes, I do know shortening is considered a fat which includes butter, lard or vegetable shorting, but I had to find the truth to what was used, and did some more digging. I found an article from May 1998, in the Boston Globe where it states that the bread flour and pastry flour are added to the, “thoroughly blended sugar and vegetable shortening.” Bingo – I found it! This article also states he uses powdered milk and frozen blueberries.
It was quite a discovery, as John, of course, would know the real Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffin Recipe.
Here is my version of the storied Jordan Marsh Blue Muffin.
Yield: 10 Muffins
|1 cup||Pastry flour||113g|
|1 cup||Bread flour||120g|
|1/2 cup||Vegetable Shortening||92g|
|1 1/2 tsp||Vanilla Extract|
|1/2 tsp||Baking powder|
Pre-heat oven to 375F
Spray muffin tin, including tops, for the muffins will flow over onto the top of the pan.
Cream sugar, shortening and salt until light; about 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed.
Add eggs, one at a time mixing well between each addition.
Sift together Bread Flour, Pastry Flour, and Baking Powder
Mash ½ cup blueberries and fold into the batter.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture over the remaining 2 cups blueberry to coat.
Alternate flour mixture and milk into the sugar mixture, mixing until combined, on medium-low speed.
Mix in the ½ cup mashed blueberries.
Fold in, by hand remaining blueberries
Fill 10 muffin tins all the way to the top.
Sprinkle, sugar on the tops of the batter, lots of sugar – the more the merrier.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes before removing them from the tins.
I used fresh blueberries in this recipe since it is the season, but the original recipe used frozen, which the next time I will try with frozen Wild Main Blueberries. If using frozen ensure to thaw and drain them first.