No muffin recipes appear in the VCBT list. Honestly, I checked. Patricia H White is, assuming she’s still with us, an American who moved to England in the 1960’s. This book was first published in 1975, and encourages the tradition of taking a bit of trouble with your gifts, or DIY as it’s known. The recipes are divided into eight categories such as preserves, potted foods, sweetmeats and baked goods. Ms White gives advice on packaging and storage, and how long the produce will last.
This recipe looks like a standard muffin mixture. Commercial muffins nowadays have expanded to massive proportions, but these seem to come from a more frugal era. Apple and cinnamon is a classic flavour match.
1 egg, beaten
4fl oz (100g) milk
40g butter, melted
200g cooking apples, peeled, cored & chopped
150g self-raising flour
½ teasp salt
1 level teasp cinnamon
dash of ground cloves
sugar to dredge
Mix together egg, milk, melted butter and apples. Sift together flour, salt, sugar and spices. Combine with wet mix and blend completely. Fill greased patty tins between half and three-quarters full and bake for 20 minutes until muffins are raised and he tops browned. Turn out and dredge with sugar. Allow to cool completely before storing.
- I used 50g sugar because the apples were Cox’s dessert apples, and I don’t have a sweet tooth. Sour cookers would need more.
- I didn’t have self-raising flour, so used plain with 2 level teaspoons baking powder.
- The ‘dash’ of ground cloves in my cupboard came as mixed spice.
- I used margarine not butter, melted in the microwave, 20 seconds at medium.
- I sifted the dry mix straight into the bowl of apple/egg/milk etc.
- I used fairy cake cases, quite small, old-fashioned, paper ones. Here, again, is a product area that has evolved in recent years. This amount of mixture actually produced 15.
As well as being a slightly off-putting dull beige hue, the raw mixture seemed like a lot of apple stuck together with thick batter. However, when cooked the balance was redressed. There was a strong cinnamon-y smell. The apple had softened. The beige colour remained, but the tops browned. I dredged some with icing sugar and left some plain. There are no instructions on oven-shelf level, so I guessed middle, but the three muffins that I put in lower, on the ‘overflow’ tray, actually expanded more than those above them. Nonetheless, the muffin I tasted was both light and moist (still warm from baking) and only just sweet enough. I have heard that muffin mixture must not be over-worked, and I followed this advice. Ms White also suggests they are best served warm.
A quick result – hard to go wrong; could be adapted for other fruit and flavourings; if eaten hot, would work as a pudding with honey, syrup, ice-cream.