Muffins are one of the things I never had much luck with before. The recipes I tried were always a little bit disappointing, never tasted as good or looked as plump as they were supposed to. Going back to classics, I had a look through my Delia Smith books and found her basic American muffin mix a really good one, plus she had quite a few ideas for toppings, which are really so trendy again.
I love the crunchy streusel topping on her muffin cake, which I used in this recipe. It's a crumble mix made with sugar, butter, flour and nuts usually sprinkled on top of cakes in Germany, it gives an extra texture and nice rich looks to the muffins. I replaced the flour for spelt and made mine an apple-cinnamon version. All in all what can I say? Pippa Middleton eat your heart out, Delia Smith still rocks!
For 15 normal size muffins:
300g white spelt flour (or plain flour)
1level tbsp baking powder
half tsp salt
half tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
220 ml milk
100 g melted butter, cooled to room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g apples, peeled and chopped into small cubes
For the topping:
75g demarara sugar
75g self raising flour (or plain flour with a pinch of baking powder)
25g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp ground cinnamon
50g chopped pecan nuts
1 tbsp cold water
The secret of a good fluffy and light muffin is in the mixing. You must never over-mix the ingredients. For this reason it is suggested to sift the dry ingredients twice so that you only have to mix the wet ingredients in very little. This stops the flour activating too much, so as long as there are no white clouds of flour in the mix, don't worry if it looks a bit on the lumpy side, it's fine.
Preheat oven to 200C, gas mark 6.
Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon into a bowl. Mix the eggs, vanilla extract, milk and melted butter in another bowl until smooth. Then sift the flour mix into the egg mix again and fold in with a wooden spoon very gently 10-15 times. Fold in the chopped apples gently. Spoon the mix into muffin cases in a muffin tray just enough to fill the cases. Make the topping by rubbing the flour, cinnamon and butter together until crumbly. Add the sugar and the nuts, mix well then sprinkle the water over the mix and press it loosely together. Sprinkle this over the muffins generously and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through. Cool on a wire rack.