Monday 19 January 2009

Apricot and Lemon Muffins

Apricots aren't really in season here right now (well, slight understatement there, given that they're completely, six months out of season) but when I saw them looking so sunny and inviting amongst all the apples and pears on the supermarket shelves I allowed myself to be seduced. I know that apricots are tasteless when unripe, but cooking them always improves the flavour and texture too - from the lack of taste and unyielding crunch they can be (almost!) transformed with the application of heat to give a yielding and tasty mouthful, perfect in the middle of a soft, light muffin. And so these muffins were born. I wanted a second flavour, so that the crumb was flavoursome too, and settled on lemon rather than vanilla, thinking that it would complement the apricot well, which it did.

Apricot and lemon muffins
Makes 12
250g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
85g white caster sugar
1 egg
240ml semi skimmed milk
80ml sunflower oil
grated zest of 1 lemon
5 small apricots, cut into small pieces

- Preheat the oven to Gas 6/200C/400F. Prepare muffin tin by lining with 12 paper cases.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the sugar and stir to mix.
- Measure the milk and oil into another bowl, add the egg and beat to mix.
- Grate the lemon zest into the oil/milk/egg mixture.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until barely combined. It will be lumpy and unattractive.
- Add the apricots and briefly stir to distribute them.
- Divide the mixture between the cases and place into the oven for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden brown. The tops should spring back gently when pressed.

You can see the lovely light texture of the cut muffin above. These went down really well at work with lots of comments about how light and tasty they were. There were certainly none left come the end of the day.
As some of my colleagues are on the Weightwatchers diet, I pointed these muffins, but make no claims to the absolute accuracy of this. (Obviously, I think I've got it right, but I don't want Weightwatchers coming after me!) For those of you that want to know, these were 3 points each. Bargain!

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