Rapturous RaspberriesPosted: September 30, 2010
Sometimes I get a little restless and long to create something a little strange. I’ve been thinking about a thyme-infused panna cotta for a while now, which I’m sure I will get to eventually; and I’ve been wanting to use up the frozen raspberries in my freezer. It wasn’t long before I decided I would make muffins, even if I usually detest them. To be specific, I detest the ones that are in most cafes that are rock-hard and dry and tastes a lot closer to cardboard than any form of baked good.
I ran into some issues with executing ideas in my head, as you do. Firstly, I have no muffin recipes on hand. Secondly, I wasn’t content with just plain ol’ raspberry muffins (which I’m sure will be yummy) but I wanted some sort of herb in it and some crunch. Talk about wanting to run before even learning to walk!
Thank heavens for Smitten Kitchen and her endless archives of awesome recipes. I’ve always admired her blog but had never attempted her recipes, but found her Perfect Blueberry Muffins recipe and knew it was the right base to bounce off. It is called perfect, after all.
I would like to take all credit about the use of pistachio and star anise with the raspberries but I had some help. Namely from The Flavor Bible which is a book I could not recommend enough. It’s excellent if you’re like me and fancy yourself to be better than you really are and would just like to make something that’s in your head into actual food. Based on the suggestions in the book, star anise and pistachios pair well with raspberries. I assumed they meant individually but I wanted them all together because I live on the edge like that.
More importantly, I was dying to test out my Beater Blade, which was sent over from my friend Karen from USA (Thanks, Karen!).
Raspberry, Pistachio & Star Anise Muffins
Yields 8 muffins
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
71g unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
3/4 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
1/2 tsp lime zest
191g all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp grounded star anise
105g frozen raspberries (unthawed)
A small handful of pistachios, grounded
1. Preheat oven to 180˚C. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
2. Add egg and beat well, then add in sour cream and lime zest.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and star anise together and sift half of it over the batter. Mix until incorporated then sift remaining dry ingredients and mix until flour disappears.
4. Gently fold in raspberries and pistachios. The batter will be dough-ish and it will be easier to disperse with an ice cream scoop. Fill up the lined muffin tray or lightly oiled muffin tray with the batter and bake for 30 minutes, and a tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the muffin.
So the Beater Blade is pretty amazing stuff. I loved that I didn’t have to scrape the sides of the bowl anymore and I felt like it took a lot faster to cream the butter and sugar too.
I figured my Microplane deserves an honourable mention as well. Words cannot describe how much I love all my Microplane graters and how much easier they’ve made my life. I love them. I love them. I love them! I’ve lost some skin off my fingers in my haste many times before but even such accidents display the greatness of this tool because my wounds are so fine and I can actually see the shape of the grater on my finger. Too much? Seriously, one of absolute must-have kitchen tools.
This was when I knew the muffins would be amazing. After I added the sour cream and before the dry ingredients, the texture of the batter was amazing. So fluffy and creamy!
The aroma of the muffins were so overwhelmingly delicious when they were baking. The smell of star anise came through really prominently but encapsulated by the sweet scent of the raspberries had me pacing my tiny kitchen staring impatiently at the cute little magnetic Daschund timer I have on my fridge.
I popped these babies out of the oven and pretty much dived right into one, anxious to taste how my silly little experimentation went and I became a muffin convert right then.
I loved the surprise interior of red and purple streaks and the little dots of green from the lime zest and grounded pistachios. The combination of star anise with raspberries was sensational, and the crunch of the pistachios? Crazy good.
Herbs in sweets may sound a little bizarre but they are so, so good together.