So I made these Apple and Rhubarb Muffins two days in a row – the first batch were great – but then I had one of those sudden thoughts “what if it had a crumble topping – just like the much loved winter dessert?!”.
It felt like all kinds of genius, and it worked out really well – the crunchy top with toffee and cinnamon flavours complements the apple and rhubarb. WIN!
Now, I made these because I have quite a few jars of Rhubarb Jam I wanted to use up – so it was easy for me to add this ingredient. Assuming you don’t all have this in the pantry then you can either make a Rhubarb Puree for this part – or even just chop up the Rhubarb pieces and prepare them the same way as the apple.
There are quite a few ingredients – but remember the topping is optional.
MAKES 12 MUFFINS
Muffin – Dry Ingredients
- 2 1/2 cups Plain Flour
- 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate Soda
- 1 pinch Salt
Muffin – Flavouring
- 2 Apples (I like Royal Gala or Fuji apples for sweetness)
- 1 cup Rhubarb Jam (or pureed Rhubarb)
Muffin – Wet Ingredients
- 1/4 cup Natural Unsweetened Yoghurt
- 1/4 cup Whole Milk
- 2 Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
- 3/4 cups Brown Sugar (Lightly packed into the measuring cup)
- 125g Unsalted Butter ((this is half a pat – no need to get the scales out))
- 60g Unsalted Butter ((this is quarter of a pat – no need to get the scales out))
- 1/2 cup Rolled Oats
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
Heat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade, and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cases.
I don’t usually mention brand names, but the anolon range of bakeware is brilliant.
Chop the apples into fine pieces about half centimetre cubes and then we want to cook them just a little.
Either microwave in a dish with 1 tablespoon of water and covered with glad wrap, or simmer gently on the stove for three to five minutes. The apple pieces should be just slightly soft, but still firm.
Rhubarb Jam or Puree.
You will need about one cup – it is ok to use more or less. Basically you will need 2 cups of fresh rhubarb stalks to produce 1 cup of puree, as it breaks down and quite a bit of water evaporates when cooked. The method is to simmer 2cm pieces in a saucepan or frypan with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of water. Stir while cooking and simmer until the pieces are soft – this will only take a few minutes.
Use a fork to break apart any chunks, it should be simmered until thick.
Alternatives are to use frozen raspberries, thawed and cooked to a thick consistency.
Mix the yoghurt and milk together in a mug, it will thicken after a few minutes.
(this is a replacement for buttermilk – because who happens to have buttermilk in their fridge when they feel like making muffins?!)
Prepare the crumble topping now, combine the melted butter with the cinnamon, oats and brown sugar – and set aside.
Try not to eat it all!
Sift the plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda and salt into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a glass or plastic jug in the microwave, then whisk in the brown sugar, vanilla, eggs and yoghurt/milk mixture.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and then pour in the wet ingredients.
Then tip in the apple pieces and rhubarb jam/puree.
Combine with a spatula using a folding action.
The key to great muffins is to only mix until the flour disappears and ingredients are combined – it should be lumpy!
Scoop spoonfuls into the paper cases – each cup in the tin should be filled so there is a slight mound higher than the tin, this will give us nice muffin tops!
Once all the cups are filled with the muffin batter, place spoonfuls of the crumble mixture on top of each.
Allocate the mixture evenly across the muffins, then press it down lightly into each one so that it will meld with the muffin batter as it rises and bakes.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Check that the tops are nice and golden, and pop a skewer in (at an angle away from the crumble top) to check that the batter is cooked through (it will come away clean with nothing sticking to it).
Let them sit in the tin for a few minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
These are best enjoyed warm, and always taste best eaten on the day they are baked.
They can also be frozen for school lunchboxes