Have you noticed that it’s rhubarb time?
My sister did and requested that I upload a receipe featuring the tangy vegetable that gets used rather like a fruit in most dishes (think crumble, compote, pie…).
The obvious choice for me would have been to use rhubarb in a cake with a meringue pie topping, which is probably the most common way of using rhubarb in a cake, in Germany. But I went through my cookbooks in search for something different…
The sister who asked for a rhubarb suggestion is also a big marzipan fan so I thought it could be good to combine the two in a sweet and sour way. And as I browsed through my Ottolenghi cookbook, I found my inspiration – a recipe for marzipan and plum muffins, which after a few changes became this recipe for my marzipan rhubarb muffins.
I particularly like the look of the muffins with the fruit compote on top, as if a little muffin volcano is erupting with juicy fruits. I’d recommend getting the pink rhubarb stalks, rather than the ones that are mainly green, as the pink colour will look much nicer on top of the muffins. I also choose thin stalks, as again they will look better, more delicate, on the muffins.
The muffins were much liked but a little dry at first, so to perfect the receipe I decided to add more rhubarb to the dough and it did the trick.
Start with the rhubarb compote, for which you will need:
- 800g rhubarb
- 300ml water
- 160g sugar
Trim the rhubarb and cut it into 1,5 cm lengths.
Mix the water and sugar and heat, stirring from time to time, until the sugar has melted. Then add the rhubarb to the sugar syrup and poach gently until just soft – the rhubarb must not collapse but keep its shape.
There will probably be a lot of juice left at this stage, if so remove the fruit but keep the juices on the boil to reduce them down to a thicker syrup.
While the rhubarb cools down get on with the muffins.
For 12 muffins you will need:
- 480g flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarb of soda
- 1 pinch of salt
- 200g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 110g margarine or butter, melted but slightly cooled down
- 280ml milk
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 120g marzipan
- a muffin tin and paper cases
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees/Gas Mark 3 and line your muffin tin with paper cases.
Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarb of soda and salt in one bowl. In another, larger bowl whisk the sugar and eggs, then add the milk and butter and whisk again to combine.
Grate the marzipan on the coarse side of a grater and add it to the batter, together with the lemon zest.
Now add 2/3 of the rhubarb compote and stir together. The rest of the compote is for the topping of the muffins, so set it aside for later.
Gently fold the flour mix into the wet mix until just combined – there may still be a few lumps of flour, which is actually wanted (if muffin batter gets over mixed the muffins become hard and dense).
Spoon the mixture in the prepared muffin tin, filling each case all the way to the top to ensure you will get that muffin top platform.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
Let the muffins cool down a few minutes until you can handle them at which point they need to be taken out of the tins, to fully cool down on a wire rack.
When the muffins are cold, dust the tops with icing sugar and top with the reserved compote.