Friday, January 8, 2010

Apple Crumble Muffins

These are delicious by themselves: they’re not too sweet and taste lovely with a cup of tea or coffee on a cold winter’s day. They also make a tasty portion-sized dessert: serve warm with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream or in a small puddle of hot custard.

First of all, preheat your oven to 180°C (350F). For these fairycakes you’ll need the basic Madeira mixture. I used the four-egg variant. As the names suggests, you’ll also need an apple

(stop looking covetously at my swanky apple chopper. I got it at IKEA. Go and get your own), which you chop into small pieces:

You add it to the Madeira mixture and sprinkle a teaspoon of cinnamon in on top. Now you mix this quickly with your electric mixer (aren’t you glad you didn’t lick the beaters?)

Leave it aside for a moment and prepare the crumble. To make a quick crumble topping, you need a slice of butter – about 50g – plus two large dessert spoons (tablespoons) each of flour, brown sugar and porridge oats (oatmeal). Voilà:

You rub the flour and butter between your fingers till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. With a wooden spoon you mix in the sugar and oats. It should look something like this:

Now spoon the Madeira mixture into paper cases in your muffin tin (just a tip: use a spoon to give it a good mixing before you begin. Otherwise you’ll find that the pieces of apple have sunk to the bottom of the bowl – you’ll have a batch of apple-free muffins to begin with, and apple-heavy muffins at the end.) Put a teaspoon of the crumble mixture on top of each.

Bake in the oven for approx. 20 minutes. You’ll have to keep an eye on them, as this time depends very much on the temperature setting of your oven. My old oven turned out perfect muffins after 18 minutes every single time; my new oven needs two or three minutes longer. While they’re baking, you can tidy up – yes, yes, go on. Lick the beaters and scoop up any spots of cake batter than might have dribbled down on to the counter top. You know you want to.

After 20 minutes (10 of which are spent with your nose pressed to the glass of the oven door watching the muffins rise as if by *magic*), you can test whether they’re done by sticking a skewer or wooden toothpick into one; if it comes out clean, they’re ready. I personally like to remove one, break it open and look inside. Naturally, this one then has to be scoffed quickly – nothing like a hands-on (teeth-on) test to check whether it’s really done. If this quality control is witnessed by indignant family members whose fingers you've just smacked away, just state that it’s what they ‘breakages’ in the business and all part of professional baked goods production. (Ssshhh! That's our story and we're sticking to it.)

Once again, this time with exact measurements:
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
250g flour + 2 tsps baking powder
250g sugar
250g butter
4 large eggs
1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into small pieces
1 tsp cinnamon

Crumble topping
20g butter
2 dessert spoons (tablespoons) flour
2 dessert spoons (tablespoons) brown sugar
2 dessert spoons (tablespoons) porridge oats/oatmeal.

Bake for approx 20 mins.

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