Thursday, 14 August 2008

Recession-busting Raspberry & Almond Muffins

High summer has just passed its peak, and we're being buffeted by autumnal gusts of wind, the occasional drizzle - or indeed downpour as I write - of rain. Not to mention gloomy economic news. The evenings are cooler, but I love the fact that fresh air is breezing through my window at night, as opposed to the humid, warm air of weeks gone by. Historically, I've always been a fan of summer - months spent in the sun, by the sea, and plenty of opportunity for grazing on berries and yummy fresh beans and peas and other seasonal gems. This year's buzz word for a trendy holiday? A "staycation" which is an abomination of the English language, but kinda sums up the mood of the nation - stay at home this August, and reap the benefits of, well, the rain. Instead of gloom and doom, I'm embracing the imminent arrival of autumn. It's less frenzied, everyone's returning to work or school, but the highlight for me has to be the colours - soft and warm and pleasing to the eye. There's nothing like a walk through one of London's parks in September and October - and I can't wait for plums, in all their shades from yellow to purple, to be fully in season. Not to mention indigo blueberries, tart apples and sweet juicy pears. Bring on autumn I say!

So this recipe is a swansong for summer's princess of red berries: a muffin speckled with the last of British raspberries, fragrant orange zest and lovely ground almonds - with a helping hand from some yogurt too. The method? Couldn't be easier, so no excuses, get baking!

Makes 6-8 jumbo muffins or 12-14 regular ones. These freeze like a charm...
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 100g melted butter
  • 125g plain flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • juice and zest of two small oranges
  • 75ml yoghurt - milk will do fine, just happened to have yogurt to hand...
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 150g raspberries - reckon chopped dried apricots would work too (a la the great birthday cake my flatmate made last week!)

Preheat oven 190ºC, and line the muffin tins with parchment paper or lightly oil each cup
Put all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, melted butter, yogurt, and stir through, then add the raspberries, scoop into muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes (longer for larger muffins, add 10 mins extra)

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