My relationship with muffins goes back a long way and this is partly the reason why I only have one recipe on this site. Its not because I don’t like them, I do, but its taken me about 10 years to finally let them back into my life.
I worked for a large American baking company for 9 years, and muffins were one of our main product lines. We had all manner of muffins literally on tap in our offices all the time. I was initially involved in selling them, then marketing them and worked closely with the R & D department to develop new variants to take to market. This involved a lot of muffin eating.
I’m somewhat of a muffin-expert and can diagnose if there is a problem with one at a glance.
A good blueberry muffin is my favourite, and I have been wanting to make a batch for a while. I also had a lot of frozen berries in my freezer.
I then walked into Woolies the other day and spotted a punnet of out-of-season imported apricots lying on the shelf. Feeling Like I was committing a very bad food crime, I decided to buy them. Its mid-winter in Cape Town, and I longed to sink my teeth into the flesh of some beautiful, summery stone fruit. I had also never tasted a miniature apricot before, so the temptation was all too much. And as a food stylist I find it impossible to resist baby fruit and vegetables.
See what I mean?
I discovered after eating the first one that it in fact had red flash, so was even more intrigued. I knew that I wanted to add them to my blueberry muffins, but would need to poach them first.
My initial idea was to poach them whole, remove the pip, and then stuff a whole apricot into each muffin which would form a gorgeous fruity center. Unfortunately the flesh clung to the pip and I was only able to pry chunks of it off which I then stirred into the batter at the end with the blueberries. This worked perfectly. You could also use about 1 heaped cup of freshly pipped and sliced apricots as a substitute to these baby ones.
I liked the slight acidity of the apricots with the blueberries. Orange and blueberry go well together as I recently discovered with my blueberry and orange trifles.
To poach the apricots simply add them to a small pot with a cup of water and 3T of fructose. According to Heston Blumenthal (my hero) fructose is better to cook fruit in. You need less of it, and I find it less sweet. If you are using sugar add 1/4 cup or 4 T. Bring the pot to the boil with the lid on and allow to simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes. Cool and drain.
I drained out the juice which had turned into the most gorgeous ruby red colour. I tasted it and it was far too good to throw away. I hate waste. So I dissolved 2 1/2 leaves of gelatin in the juice, and poured it into 3 small glass serving dishes and tossed in a few pomegranate seeds. Jelly!
But I seem to have digressed.
I had also wanted to make a crunchy streusel topping with almonds for the muffins, but somehow in the making of this, things didn’t work out, so I landed up making the most delectable almond and chocolate bars….but Im leaving that for the next blog post as it’s a whole other story.
Recipe to make the muffins | makes 12 large muffins
I loved how my one recipe playtime in the kitchen yielded 3 great results. Tomorrow I will post about my almond chocolate bars.
I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.
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