Muffins a favourite at bak­ery

Hawke's Bay Today - - Front Page - Bran Muffins with Blood Plums

PAS­TRY CHEF Na­dine In­gram has worked in high­pro­file es­tab­lish­ments around the world. In 2011 she re­alised her vi­sion of a bak­ery that served clas­sic in­spired pas­tries with Flour and Stone, her first bricks and mor­tar store. She shows her pas­sion for bak­ing with a book of the same name, FlourandS­tone.

The book is a col­lec­tion of favourite recipes peo­ple keep com­ing back to.

It’s a mouth-wa­ter­ing nod to the golden era of home-baked scones with dol­lops of jam and cream and hand-iced bis­cuits.

Fol­low­ing is a recipe from her book.

Bran Muffins with Blood Plums

Makes 12

When­ever we’re asked which is the health­i­est op­tion on the counter at Flour and Stone, th­ese bran muffins put their hand up.

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

Raisin pure´e:

200g dried raisins, dates or sul­tanas, boil­ing wa­ter, to cover Roasted plums:

12 blood plums, cut in half and stones re­moved

1 or­ange, juice and finely grated zest

100g caster sugar

Bran:

125g nat­u­ral bran Muffins:

100g plain flour

100g whole­meal flour

1 tsp bak­ing pow­der

1 tsp bi­car­bon­ate of soda

1⁄ tsp salt 2

100g light brown sugar

150ml wa­ter

200ml but­ter­milk

140ml sun­flower oil

2 eggs

200g fresh ri­cotta

METHOD

Raisin pure´e: Put dried fruit in a small heat­proof bowl and cover with boil­ing wa­ter. Leave to soak for 10 min­utes, then drain wa­ter off com­pletely and pure´e the fruit in a food pro­ces­sor or with a stick blender. Set the pure´e aside to cool. Roasted plums: Pre­heat the oven to 160C. Ar­range the plums, cut side up, in a bak­ing dish. Rub the or­ange zest into the sugar so it is evenly dis­trib­uted, then sprin­kle the sugar over the plums, fol­lowed by or­ange juice. Place in oven and roast for 15 min­utes or un­til the plums are soft and al­most fall­ing apart. Re­move and set aside.

Bran: Re­duce oven tem­per­a­ture to 150C. Spread the bran over a bak­ing tray and toast for 30 min­utes, open­ing oven door ev­ery 10 min­utes to turn the bran over with a pal­ette knife to toast it evenly. The darker you toast the bran, the more flavour­some it will be (pro­vid­ing you don’t burn it of course). Once the bran is a dark caramel colour, re­move it from oven. It is not nec­es­sary to cool it. Muffins: In­crease oven tem­per­a­ture to 160C and line a 12-hole muf­fin tray with pa­per cases.

Place bran, flours, bak­ing pow­der, bi­car­bon­ate of soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl and whisk to­gether with a hand whisk. Make a well in the cen­tre and add the wa­ter, but­ter­milk, oil, eggs and raisin pure´e all at once, then use the whisk to gen­tly fold ev­ery­thing to­gether un­til it is roughly in­cor­po­rated. The se­cret with muffins is to not over­mix the bat­ter, so don’t worry about the lumps.

Us­ing a ta­ble­spoon, half fill the muf­fin cases with bat­ter, then place half a plum and a heaped tea­spoon of ri­cotta in the cen­tre of each one. Cover with the re­main­ing bat­ter and pop an­other plum half on the top of each muf­fin. Fin­ish with an­other heaped tea­spoon of the re­main­ing ri­cotta.

Bake for 30 min­utes, then re­duce the tem­per­a­ture to 150C and bake for a fur­ther 20 min­utes to make sure the cen­tres are cooked. Gen­tly press muffins in the mid­dle and if the top bounces back, they’re ready. Re­move muffins from oven and cool for 10 min­utes be­fore re­mov­ing from tray.

The muffins will keep well in an air­tight con­tainer in the fridge for up to three days. You can freeze them.

Note: Th­ese muffins can be made with pears. Peel, halve and core six pears and roast as in­structed, in­creas­ing cook­ing time to 40 min­utes. The halves can then be cut in half again so you have enough fruit for the mid­dle and top of each muf­fin.

Photo / Alan Ben­son

From Flour and Stone by Na­dine In­gram, pub­lished by Si­mon & Schus­ter Aus­tralia, RRP $65.

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