Fresh Strawberry + Cream Muffins
Summer is my favourite time of year for a number of reasons – warm sunshine, flowers blooming, picnics with friends and family, bonfires at the beach – the list goes on and on and on. From a chef’s perspective, the arrival of summer is a welcome one, a time to dust off one’s collection of tried and true barbecue favourites, or indeed to experiment with new and exciting recipes for the grill. It is also a great opportunity to venture to the local farmer’s market, to see (and often taste!) what late spring and early summer fruits and vegetables are available for sale. It was on one of these recent visits to a nearby produce shop that I discovered with glee the seasonal arrival of the United Kingdom’s most adorable fruit – the British strawberry.
British strawberries are considerably smaller and slightly sweeter than their jumbo American counterparts, and make a lovely little picnic snack on a warm summer’s day. They are also great for baking, and I had just the recipe in mind when I excitedly paid the grocer for them – Fresh Strawberry + Cream Muffins. I discovered the recipe in one of my most useful dessert cookbooks – 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies and Other Tempting Treats – and had been instantly intrigued, as strawberries and whipped cream are two of my favourite things! I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome, as these turned out to be some of the best muffins I have ever had!
I added a few extra strawberries to the recipe listed below, but otherwise recommend following the recipe as written. They taste best when eaten immediately after cooling, although they may also be stored overnight in an airtight container.
FRESH STRAWBERRY + CREAM MUFFINS
2 cups plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp caster sugar
1 cup single cream
85 grams unsalted butter, melted + cooled
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
150 grams fresh strawberries, washed, dried + chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup double cream
2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
12 whole fresh strawberries, to decorate
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius. Butter or lightly oil a 12-hole muffin tin; set aside.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a large non-metallic mixing bowl. Add caster sugar and stir to incorporate.
3. Place eggs in a large jug or bowl and lightly beat. Add cream, melted butter and vanilla extract and whisk well.
4. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add egg-cream mixture. Stir well until just combined; do not overmix. Add chopped strawberries and gently incorporate using a rubber spatula.
5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until well-risen, lightly golden and firm to the touch. Cool in tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
6. To make topping, place double cream and confectioner’s sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until lightly stiffened. When the muffins are cooled, pipe or spoon whipped cream atop each muffin, then top with a whole fresh strawberry.