Cherry + black pepper streusel muffins
Not too sweet and filled with good things, these are a muffin I can happily eat for breakfast. I love them studded with cherries, so I make them most in summer, but in truth they could be made with other berries – frozen or fresh – or slices of summer stone fruits. The tops are crumbly and crunchy with their little hats of streusel topping flecked with black pepper and orange zest.
These flavours are more subtle than you might expect and add a pleasing warmth and fragrance. The muffins will last for a couple of days in an airtight tin.
I use raw cane sugar in these muffins, also called rapadura sugar. It is less processed than lots of commercial sugars, and while a little more expensive I think it tastes much better too. I use it where recipes call for brown sugar, so you can use light brown sugar here instead. Vegans can use coconut oil and aquafaba.
FOR THE STREUSEL TOPPING
50g unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm cubes
70g white spelt flour
40g raw cane sugar
the zest from 1 unwaxed orange
a pinch of flaky sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE MUFFINS
150g unsalted butter, or coconut oil plus extra to grease
300g white spelt flour, plus 1 teaspoon
2 teaspoons baking powder
100g ground almonds
a generous pinch of flaky sea salt
3 medium organic eggs
200g raw cane sugar (see note above)
200ml milk (I use oat or unsweetened almond)
11⁄2 teaspoons vanilla paste
the juice from 1 orange
350g pitted cherries, cut into quarters
Preheat the oven to 200oC/180oC fan/gas 6. Grease a 12-hole muffin tray or line with muffin cases.
First make the streusel topping by placing all the ingredients in a bowl and rubbing through your fingers until it resembles rough crumbs. Set aside for later.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Pour it into a bowl and set aside to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and salt and use a balloon whisk to break up any lumps.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until it turns a smooth, light caramel colour. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking gently as you pour, then add the melted butter, the vanilla and the orange juice. Gently whisk the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Toss the cherries in the teaspoon of flour (this stops the juice from ‘bleeding’ into the batter as it bakes) and fold them into the batter.
Fill the muffin cases or holes with the batter to just below the top. Sprinkle the topping over the muffins and bake for 30 minutes, until the tops of the muffins are golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave the muffins to cool for about 15 minutes before removing them from the tray.
Image used with kind permission of the lovely blog Everything Looks Rosie