I opened the fridge door the morning, only to realize with dismay that we were out of muffins. For some, this would not cause such major distress. Some people go weeks, even months, perhaps, without muffins in their own refrigerators and seem to get by quite happily. In our house, however, muffins have become an institution. We have muffins with our coffee for breakfast, muffins with our tea as a late afternoon pick-me-up, sometimes muffins even serve as a midnight snack. As they play such a fundamental role in our daily eating habits, I realized that it was time to do some baking. I perused La Tartine Gourmande's cookbook for a few minutes before coming across a recipe for blackberry and lemongrass teacakes. The recipe was just what I was looking for - the only obvious problem was the fact that we had neither blackberries nor lemongrass on hand. Blueberries and lemon would just have to suffice. I decided to swirl the tops of the muffins with some blueberry purée that I had leftover from yesterday's somewhat disastrous petits fours. In a spontaneous burst of creativity, I also generously sprinkled them with coarse turbinado sugar, which formed a crispy sugary crust in the oven. According to my mother, these are the best muffins to date (probably because they are actually cake). I will definitely be making them again - with whatever berries we happen to have on hand.
As this recipe only makes 4 regular sized (although fairly rich) teacakes/muffins, you may want to double it if you are baking for a crowd, or simply want more leftover.
Lemon Teacakes with a Blueberry Swirl and Sugar Crust (GF)
Adapted from La Tartine Gourmande
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup (45 g) white rice flour
1/2 cup (60 g) almond flour
1/2 cup (60 g) confectioner's sugar
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 large egg whites
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup blueberries
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1-2 tbsp water
2 tsp cornstarch
2-3 tbsp coarse turbinado sugar (I used "Sugar in the Raw" packets)
In a small pot, combine the blueberries, granulated sugar, and water. Bring to a boil and then cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the berries start to disintegrate, pour the mixture into a blender and purée until smooth. Strain the mixture over the pot and return to low heat. Mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon of water before adding it to the blueberries, otherwise it will not dissolve well. Stir until combined and remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F and grease 4 muffin molds, or 8 if you are doubling the recipe.
Melt the butter in a small pot or on low power in the microwave.
In a medium bowl, sift together the rice flour, almond meal, confectioners' sugar, sea salt, and baking powder.
Lightly beat the egg whites until they are foamy and pour them into the center of the dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Mix in the melted butter. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and mix again until combined.
Divide the batter among the wells of the muffin pan. Place about 1/4 tsp of blueberry purée in the center of each muffin and swirl it around with a toothpick. Generously sprinkle each muffin with turbinado sugar - probably about a teaspoon and a half per muffin. Bake for 25-30 minutes. They will be golden around the edges. Once they are removed from the oven, allow them to cool for a few minutes before removing them and letting them cool completely on a rack.