At the moment I’m happy revelling in fresh produce from the garden. Not mine, I hasten to admit; we’re still living in a rented house, and I a vowed a couple of moves back not to spend ages weeding gardens and planting nice things just to move out before they’re ready. Rant over.
Last week I happily received some fresh blackcurrants from a work colleague (thanks Gill!), and after a few fresh fruit salad breakfasts, decided to use the rest in this recipe. In a lovely little twist, I then took some of the muffins over to my parents, and collected some of their home-grown courgettes. I’d like to say this is the start of a little saga of collecting fresh fruits/veg, baking them, and swapping for some more. But it’s not. It’s far too hot and sticky for that 😉
I was really torn with what to do with these blackcurrants, so many choices! Jams, tarts, pies, macarons, the list is literally endless. In the end I settled on a combination of cake and a great British classic – crumble.
On looking for some crumbly inspiration, I was delighted to see one of my favourite blog reads, the Vagabond Baker, pop up in my google search results. So, this recipe is an adaptation from Rachel’s delightful apple recipe, with a few interjections from other recipes such as this one on BBC Good Food. I loved the oozy custard on Rachel’s recipe, but also wanted a super-crispy crumble topping, so ended up adding a little extra sugar for a fantastic caramelised crunch.
Ingredients (Makes approx. 24 mini muffins)
For the muffins
50g sugar – light brown is preferable
150g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
For the blackcurrant jam sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
For the crumble topping
25g light brown sugar, plus 1 tablespoon extra to caramelise
25g plain flour
15g rolled oats
– To make the muffin mixture, melt the butter, and beat in the rest of the ingredients, leaving the blackcurrants to last. Don’t overbeat – it’s better to have a few bits of flour still showing that to have a big blackcurrant mess!
– Using a mini muffin tin, either use paper liners, or grease generously (e.g. with cake release spray), and spoon in the mixture until the holes are around 2/3 full. Try and ensure a good distribution of blackcurrants – there should be a good few in each muffin.
– Make the jam sauce by microwaving (or heating on the hob), the remaining blackcurrants with their sugar and around 2 teaspoons of water. It should only take a few minutes for the fruit to break down and turn into a bubbly jam. Any blackcurrants which don’t conform, stir and squish with the back of a spoon, so you have a runny jam.
– For the crumble, place all the ingredients in a large bowl, cubing or cutting the butter into small chunks. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it forms a dense crumb.
– Spoon a little of the jam mixture into the centre of each muffin
– And top with a good sprinkling of the crumble mixture, making sure all sides, and the jam, are completely covered.
– Put the muffins into the oven, at 180 degrees, for around 12-15 minutes. This will entirely depend on your oven, but you want to take them out when the crumble is just starting to colour.
– Using the extra tablespoon of sugar, carefully sprinkle a pinch over the middle of each of the muffins. Again, using your fingers, drip a few drops of water on top of the sugar, so it starts to dissolve.
Return the muffins to the oven, and flick on the grill. Keep a close eye as when they start to caramelize it will happen very quickly, and there’s a fine line between crunchy caramel and burnt! It should take a couple of minutes, and the tops will start bubbling and become lovely and golden. Once they do, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Once cool, carefully extract from the tin, using the point of a sharp knife to lift them out.
They are best enjoyed straight away, whilst they will keep in an airtight container, the caramelized crumble will gradually lose its crispiness. If this does happen, you can easily pop them back under the grill for a couple of minutes to crisp back up.
Needless to say they didn’t last very long in our house! I am completely in love with these little bites, but can’t decide what I like more, the sticky, fruity inside, or the caramel, crunchy topping…?