Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Rhubarb Streusel Muffins - a Tea Time Treat

This month's Tea Time Treat challenge is to make fairy cakes, cupcakes or muffins, all of which are eminently suitable for any type of tea table, from feeding hordes of hungry children to a dainty afternoon tea using the best china. My problem is I don't really like making them! I can't be bothered with the fiddle of decorating fairy cakes, and don't like cupcakes which have more frosting than cake. I'm beginning to conquer my ineptitude with muffins, but for a long time I avoided making them as they got poor reviews from the family in comparison with shop bought ones.

However, if I was going to take part in this challenge, it would have to be muffins, so I started thinking about delicate seasonal flavours suitable for the tea table. I didn't want robust, heavy muffins full of oats, bran and dried fruit, which are more the sort of thing you eat to fill you at breakfast time, but something you could eat as part of a larger meal, and not feel over-stuffed. When I saw that my rhubarb was just about ready for the first stems to be harvested, the decision was made for me!

My favorite sort of muffins are those with steusel toppings - you get the contrast of a different texture and often a different flavour too, without a lot of effort when making them. The recipe I chose, from Smitten Kitchen, also stirred a portion of the streusel crumbs into the muffin batter, which was a really effective idea.

I followed the recipe exactly, except I used all white flour to make the muffins lighter and more delicate, and I used demerara sugar in the streusel topping to give more crunch. I also rounded all the metric weights to the nearest 5g - my scales work that way, and it's more than accurate enough for most baking!

The muffins turned out really well - they were light and moist, despite the batter being quite stiff. My naturally grown, unforced rhubarb didn't stay pink when cooked, but the little cubes of fruit were still noticeable in the muffins and tasted really good. The hint of cinnamon and nutmeg in the topping went well with the rhubarb too.

Tea Time Treats is a monthly challenge co-hosted by Karen at Lavender and Lovage, and Kate at What Kate Baked, who chose this month's theme. It's name speaks for itself, but more details can be found here.

9 comments:

Foodycat said...

They do look very nice! I haven't had any rhubarb yet this year.

Katie said...

These look delicious and rhubarb would be perfect in a muffin. Haven't seen much rhubarb yet, despite living in Yorkshire. They probably cart it off elsewhere!

belleau kitchen said...

Really muffin perfection. I have rhubarb in my fridge. I will get baking!

Choclette said...

Oh rhubarb, I am quite jealous. We used to grow masses at our old plot, but for some reason it hasn't taken to our new one and refuses to grow. Your muffins sounds quite delicious.

Miss C Flash said...

I've never tried rhubarb in a muffin before (I always thought it would be too wet of a fruit to use for baking a muffin). This is a really unusual, delicious looking muffin, thanks for sharing the idea xx

Suelle said...

That was a worry for me too, Miss C. I cut the fruit into really small dice - less than 10mm.

Caroline said...

They look great. I agree about having a contrasting texture - it definitely makes them more interesting.

figjamandlimecordial.com said...

Suelle, you and I have always shared an inherent distrust of muffins (for want of a better word), glad to see you're overcoming yours is such a delicious way! :)

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

Apologies for accidently leaving your beautiful bakes off the round-up Suelle! Lovely muffins! Thank you for your entry