One of the great things about my newer version of Delia’s Cakes is that there are fabulous full-page photos of all the recipes. The Spiced Apple Muffins have always tempted me but it’s taken me a long time to actually get round to making them. I was going over to the family’s for an early supper so we could all watch the final of Strictly Come Dancing together. Son Jonathan had made a gorgeous Neopolitan-style ragù for our main course. Of course the simplest and most Italian style dessert to follow would be some gelato – memories of being in Naples, eating pizza and then going to a gelateria afterwards. But I wanted to do a little more and the boys do like Nonna’s cakes. I guess there’s nothing Italian about these muffins, but they fitted the bill in terms of simplicity and not giving the boys – Freddie (nearly 7) and Ben (4) – too much of a sugar hit just before bedtime (there was going to be enough excitement from Stictly!). They’re made with eating apples so the sugar content is quite minimal, in spite of the sprinkling of Demerara sugar on top. And in all honesty, we’re fans of simple puds – fruit crumbles, etc. I did up the celebratory aspect of the evening by taking along a tub of Grom’s gloriously indulgent hazelnut gelato to eat with them.
I followed Delia Smith’s recipe almost exactly, but left out the ground cloves as I don’t like them. Hence mine became Cinnamon Apple Muffins. I also used light soft brown sugar as I didn’t have her recommended ‘dark’ version.
Cinnamon Apple Muffins – Makes 6
- 150g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 40g light soft brown sugar
- 120ml milk
- 50g butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 3 medium-sized dessert apples, cored, 2 grated and one diced into roughly 1cm cubes
- 1 tablespoon Demerara sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 200C/Fan 180/Gas 6
Put 6 muffin cases, brushed with melted butter, into a muffin tin
It’s a good idea to gather all the ingredients together first, and weigh everything out.
Sift the flour, cinnamon and baking powder into a bowl. The sifting process is very important – this first time and the next. Melt the butter and leave to cool a bit.
Prepare the apple and mix the topping ingredients in a separate bowl.
Whisk together the egg, sugar, milk and melted butter. Then sift the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Fold them in very carefully, just as you would when folding egg white into a meringue. Do minimal mixing, just until everything is well incorporated. Then tip in the grated apple and carefully fold this in too.
Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases. Then divide the diced apple between them, laying the pieces on top and just gently pushing down slightly. Sprinkle over the topping.
Place in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until well risen and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and immediately transfer to a cooling rack.
They smelled wonderful and looked great too. With only six of them, I definitely had to resist the temptation to sample one with a cup of tea before heading to my son’s.
Jonathan’s Neapolitan ragù was delicious and by the time we were ready for our dessert, Strictly had begun and we’d all sat down on the sofa to watch it. I put a muffin in a bowl with a scoop of gelato for everyone and we all tucked in. The muffins were gorgeous and I love cinnamon with apple; it gives a nice warm taste, which is perfect for a winter evening. I have to confess though, good as they were, the enjoyment of them was eclipsed by Strictly. We all cast our vote via Nonna’s iPad and when Rose and Giovanni were announced as winners, Freddie, sitting beside me leapt into the air and was so happy his favourites had won.
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