Prune, a pipsqueak of a place on New York's Lower East Side, is an incredible place to brunch. Small and sunny with a good naturedly surly menu (no substitutions, no additions, don't ask!) and a blockbuster menu of bloody mary options correctly served with a beer back. The Chicago Matchbox with its relish stick of pickled brussel sprouts, caperberries, and green beans ensures a good day ahead or at least a good long nap. I love brunching there, so I was very disappointed when I realized that they had stopped making their own English muffins. Which were one of the best reasons to go. While I have fond memories of sitting in my grandmother's kitchen eating Thomas's English muffins with their nooks and crannies toasted and filled with butter, they just aren't the same. Finding a recipe was harder than I expected and when I did find a recipe only then did I realize how hard it is to find something so seemingly basic as powdered milk in New York. New York is odd like that. You can find twelve different types of organic agave syrup, but powdered milk? No. When I finally did track some down (on a weekend trip upstate) I had to buy in such bulk that I am now prepared to make my own English muffins for years. Which is a good thing, because homemade English muffins are amazing.
Making English muffins is time consuming, but well worth the effort. The batter is left to rise once, punched down, sprinkled with cornmeal, and then rolled into small balls that are cooked individually (according to the recipe; I crammed a bunch in the pan because I am impatient) in a cast iron skillet. The balls get smashed down with a spatula and turn a lovely golden color. The resulting muffin is excellent toasted with jam, split and filled with sandwich fixings, or just shoved into your mouth. They store well, freeze well, and last as long as you can keep your greedy mitts off of them. I can honestly say I am never going back to Thomas's.