Fresh Apricot and Pecan Muffins with Cinnamon Icing
I love American home cooking, and one of the things I feel Americans are particularly good at is baking (both at home and commercially). The American muffin reigns supreme – not like the British bread version but more like superior fairy cakes and oh so much easier to make and more of a treat. Like many other things in America, they used to come big, but now that calorie counting is here to stay there are mini versions, which means you can make lots of different bite-sized flavours.
Makes 20 mini or 6 man-sized muffins
|4 oz (110 g) fresh apricots, finely chopped|
|1 oz (25 g) pecan nuts, finely chopped and lightly toasted|
|2½ oz (60 g) plain flour|
|2½ oz (60 g) wholemeal flour|
|½ level tablespoon baking powder|
|¼ level teaspoon salt|
|1 large egg|
|1½ oz (40 g) caster sugar|
|4 fl oz (110 ml) milk|
|2 oz (50 g) butter, melted and cooled slightly|
|½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract|
|½ level teaspoon ground cinnamon|
|For the cinnamon icing:|
|2 level teaspoons ground cinnamon|
|3 oz (75 g) icing sugar, sifted|
|10 toasted pecan nuts, cut in half|
|Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).|
|Oven temperatures and Conversions|
|Click here for information|
Equipment: You will also need a Deliaonline Silverwood 6-cup Muffin Tray lined with 6 paper cases, generously brushed with melted butter or two 12 hole mini muffin tins (with paper cases).
This recipe is taken from Delia's Summer Collection.
Start off by sifting the flours, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, tipping in all the bits of bran that are left in the sieve. Then, in a separate bowl, mix together the egg, sugar, milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Now return the dry ingredients to the sieve and sift them straight on to the egg mixture (this double sifting is essential because there won't be much mixing going on), again tipping in all the bits of bran that are left in the sieve.
What you need to do now is take a large spoon and fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones – quickly, in about 15 seconds. Don't be tempted to beat or stir, and don't be alarmed by the rather unattractive, uneven appearance of the mixture: this, in fact, is what will ensure that the muffins stay light.
Now fold the apricots, pecan nuts and cinnamon into the mixture, again with a minimum of stirring: just a quick folding in.
Spoon in just enough mixture to fill each muffin cup (if you're not using papers, grease the tins well). Bake on a high shelf of the oven for 20 minutes for minis or 30 minutes for the larger ones or until well risen and brown.
Remove the muffins from the oven and cool in the tins for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack (if they are in paper cases remove them from the tins straight away).
For the icing, mix the icing sugar with 3 teaspoons water and the cinnamon and spoon a little on to each muffin when they are cold.
Then, for mini muffins, top each with half a pecan, and for man-sized muffins, sprinkle each with three pecan halves.
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What’s good about changing seasons is looking forward to gooseberries, which only come once a year. They can of course be frozen but they’re never quite as good, so once a year make these glorious and very special muffins.
It’s not easy to buy damsons, but it’s worth searching in farm shops and markets at the end of August. However, if they’re not forthcoming, you can still make these with chopped dark plums.
I just couldn’t stop eating these when we tested them, so for me this is another reason to look forward to the Christmas season. They are great at any time, but would be especially good for a celebratory breakfast on Christmas morning.
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