Olive and Bergamot Muffins

Deliciously different Italian muffins made with olive oil, oil-cured olives, bergamot orange, pine nuts and a hint of rosemary.
Olive and Bergamot Muffins

Olive and Bergamot Muffins

By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

This month, for #MuffinMonday , I have gotten a bit creative looking for something to do with a couple of Bergamot oranges I picked up over at Pipkin’s Market in Blue Ash Ohio.

Bergamot oranges are known for their heady aromatic scent. Perhaps you have bought candles or oils described as Bergamot?

I used to grow many everlasting flowers for scent and potpourri at one time. Bergamot was one of my favorite aromas. I had bought some bergamot flowers which were very lovely, but was a bit disappointed to find out that the Bergamot I was after came from Italian citrus. Like the oranges I used today.

The scent and flavor, I would describe as being very lemon, with high notes of flowers, and also a bit of pepper bite. So if you have to sub, you might go for sour Seville oranges,  or perhaps lemon juice with a touch of white pepper added. For floral aroma, you might be able to sub a few drops of jasmine extract- but this is all theoretical as I haven’t done it. But usually my guesses are rather Spock-like (after the Vulcan from  Star Trek) (also meaning that my guesses are better than the facts some might have). *laughs*

No, really. I have a kind of food radar in that I seldom miss. I think of it as an extraordinary palate- or maybe it’s my nose. I can pick out scents and flavors. Are you able to do it as well? It makes for good cooking,  I must say. And thank goodness I quit smoking years ago, or I probably wouldn’t be able to smell at all.
Olive and Bergamot Muffins
But Bergamot oranges are very Italian, and also somewhat southern French, but from that northern Mediterranean region. They are not usually used for juice (they are tart!) but I got a couple on speculation just to see what they were about.

I decided on making muffins with them, since I needed a muffin recipe for today. I thought of mixing the juice and zest with some olive oil instead of sugar, as olive oil cakes are very good. And I thought I would be daring and mix in some olives, since I’ve made marinated olives with bits of orange before- the idea picked up from an old CIA (Culinary Institute of America) cookbook. And since olive oil would be in it, all three  would be intrinsically interwoven.

I also added some pine nuts for crunch, with a little rosemary since those go together. The sugar is light in them, and you can drizzle honey at the end to your taste. I like them best with only a little bit drizzled, but some may like more, depending on how tart those oranges were.

The end result is a muffin that straddles both worlds, at once being both lightly savory and lightly sweet,  which is great for me. I think they would be the perfect choice for a brunch session when you are looking for something unique and different from the usual blueberry muffin fare.

I hope these are as well-received with you as they were with my family and friends.

Olive and Bergamot Muffins

Olive and Bergamot Muffins

  • Servings: 16-18
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Olive and Bergamot Muffins

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 bergamot oranges (zest and 1/3 cup juice only)
  • 1/2 cup pitted oil cured olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • honey


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Whisk together olive oil, eggs, sugar, 1/3 cup juice from the oranges, and buttermilk.
  3. Separately, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients until just moistened.
  5. Fold in the rosemary, orange zest, and 1/3 cup of the pine nuts (reserve the rest to sprinkle on top of batter).
  6. Spray muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or use paper liners.
  7. Pour batter into cavities no more than 2/3 full.
  8. Sprinkle top of batter with the rest of the pine nuts.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick, when inserted doesn’t come out with wet batter.
  10. Cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan, then turn them out and place on a wire rack, then drizzle the tops with honey and let it soak in. Finish cooling them on the wire rack.

From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com

Muffin Monday

Olive and Bergamot Muffins

3 responses

  1. What an intriguing mix of flavors, Sue. Bergamot is also the flavoring in Earl Grey tea, the only place I’ve ever tasted it. We’ve started getting blood oranges more often here. I’ll be on the lookout for the bergamot ones now.

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