The holidays are over, and the feasting has slowed. What remains though are remnants of fruit basket bounty - not quite past its life expectancy, but perhaps also not at its most palatable. What to do....? Bake with it!
Today, I put to good use some bruised apples, slightly softened clementines and browned bananas. The end result: apple strudel for tonight's dessert, made with leftover phyllo pastry; banana bread for tea break snacks through the week and; clementine-cranberry muffins for the freezer. An added benefit... my home smells fantastic. No need for air fresheners or scented candles when you spend an afternoon baking.
I have to share this muffin recipe with you. It is delicious. It comes from the cookbook Muffins Galore, by Catherine Atkinson.
Clementine and Cranberry Muffins (makes 12)
3 small clementines, about 5 ounces in total weight
3/4 c water
2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Generous 1/2 c superfine sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 c dried cranberries
1 egg, lightly beaten
7 tablespoons butter, melted
For the Topping
1/2 c rolled oats
1/4 c light brown sugar
2 heaping tbsp all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 c butter, cut into small pieces
1) Roughly chop the clementines (leaving their peel on), remove any seeds, then put the clementines in a small saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, half cover with a lid, and simmer for 20 minutes, until really tender. Remove the pan from the heat, and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then puree the mixture in a blender of food processor until smooth. Set aside.
2) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or line a 12 cup muffin pan.
3) Make the topping by placing all the ingredients in a bowl and rubbing in the butter. Alternatively, put all ingredients in a food processor and process until lumps form. Set aside.
4) For the muffins, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and cranberries in a large bowl. Measure the clementine puree and make up to 1 cup with water if needed. Add to a bowl and stir in the egg and melted butter. Add to the dry ingredients and mix briefly until just combined.
5) Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing it equally, then sprinkle the topping mixture over the tops of the muffins. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until well risen and golden. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn them onto a wire rack.
I have to admit that I totally forgot to add the topping mixture, once I set it aside. Without it though, the muffins were amazing, and probably just that little but lower in fat. We gave them a 4 stars out of 5. I am going to try them again with fresh cranberries, and I am going to remember the topping.
*Muffins, fresh from the oven
*Tea Break: Banana Bread, still warm and Harney and Sons Holiday Tea Blend tea.