Fragrant Rhubarb Muffins

50th Post. How exciting. To celebrate I have added another page up top.

I seem to remember somewhere back in my memory banks that the rhubarb season ends at the start of July. Something about leaf toxins making their way back down the stems after that time, but don’t quote me on that.

Crumble seems to be the main response to a rhubarb glut and more sophisticated desserts such as Creme Brûlée and elaborate tarts don’t really use enough stems to make the fiddling worthwhile. It turns out you can make jam; equal quantities of rhubarb and sugar, boil for 15 minutes with the juice or 2 to 3 lemons and additional flavourings of your choice. Haven’t tried it but I might do this week. Being a baker I naturally turn to cakes and at some point I might try a loaf cake but for now my response to too much rhubarb is muffins and a little polenta inspiration from Violet Cakes has produced the following.

These are very lovely and rhubarb frozen in batches can keep you in these confections throughout the summer at least. They are not a classic muffin recipe in as far as the whole ‘mix as little as possible’ is not required, but muffins would be their closest relative.

You will need (for 12 muffins): 220g Plain Flour, 30g Polenta, 90g Caster Sugar, 1 tbsp Baking Powder, pinch of Salt, 1 scant tsp Ground Ginger, zest of 1 Orange, 1 large Egg, 125g melted Butter, 175ml Milk, 2 to 3 stems of Rhubarb washed, cut into 1-2 cm pieces, and stewed gently in a saucepan with 2 tbsp of Brown Sugar.

Make sure the rhubarb is stewed and soft but still with some pieces retaining their shape. Drain in a colander once cooked to allow the runniest of the juice to dissipate.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180-190°C. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.

  • Melt the butter gently in a saucepan.
  • Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, including the zest,  and mix to combine.
  • Having made a well in the center of the flour mixture, add the egg, milk and butter and mix well with a fork to combine thoroughly and leave you with a smooth batter. You may wish to switch to a spoon.
  • Dollop dessert spoonfuls of mixture into each paper case, then add a heaped teaspoon of rhubarb, then another dessert spoonful of batter, then a final teaspoon of rhubarb.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.

Best served warm with icing sugar sprinkled over as there will be a wonderful citrus, ginger aroma as you break into them. The polenta helps to soak up any residual juice and imparts a lovely nutty texture. Yummy.

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