Sunday, August 31, 2008

a hot breakfast for a cold morning

I love fall. I particularly love the beginning of fall: the romance of the leaves starting to change colour, wearing sweaters and boots and tights, the way the air is sharp and clear and even a little smokey with the cold. I love the way the sunlight turns kind of silver in the afternoons, and the spicy smell of leaves and fallen apples starting to decay.

We have a cold front from Alaska visiting Seattle this weekend, and last night (and this morning) were supposed to be the low point: snow levels falling to 4,000 ft., temps dipping into the 30s and 40s overnight. Expecting the house to be on the chilly side this am, I got up at six to bake us up a warm, cozy breakfast. I'd really hoped to have a friend over to sit, drink cocoa and eat all this, listen to cozy CD's like Yo-Yo Ma and spend some time crafting together, but it didn't happen. Maybe another time?

Baked apples are a no-brainer, but these muffins are something really special. I really think Donna Hay needs a fan club and that I need to be in it. Here's the recipe with my alterations - to decrease fat content and to deal with the fact that passionfruit are hard to come by these days.

Blueberry and Passionfruit Muffins:

parchment paper and kitchen twine
1.75 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 c. sugar
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c. non-fat plain yogurt (preferably Greek-style)
4 tbl. (1/2 stick) softened butter
grated zest and juice of one medium lemon
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 5-oz. container passionfruit paste*
1 - 1.5 c. blueberries

*I found a little 5 oz plastic tub of this by 34 Degrees foods at my local Whole Foods. It was stocked over the Olive Bar, by the specialty cheeses. Look for quince paste and date breads and other frilly cheese accompaniments, and you'll probably find it!

Tying parchment wrappers from heck: this is the hardest part, so sit down and get comfortable, you'll be at this for a few minutes at least. You need 8 4-oz. ramekins, a roll of parchment, some twine, and I used my rotary cutter (for quilting) and Salem rule (if you're not familiar, it's like a big, wide, ruler with a grid). My roll of parchment is the small one, about 12" wide or so. Cut eight 3" wide strips of parchment.

Before you try to roll it, take a look at the strip. It will probably be slightly convex (one side curves up). Make this side the inside of your roll, and your parchment will actually stand up better, as it'll be kind of curving against itself. Roll the parchment so you have a 3" tall cylinder that just fits inside your ramekin (I actually used my ramekins to hold the parchment up while I tied them in there). Wrap your twine around the parchment and tie it firmly. I tied mine in front and back so I could kind of cinch it closed.

Once you've got those all together, set the ramekins with their parchment sleeves on a baking sheet and get down to the (much easier) business of muffin mixing:

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder) in a large bowl with a fork until evenly combined.

In a smaller bowl, mash up your quince paste until fairly smooth. Add yogurt, lemon zest and juice, egg and butter, and mix thoroughly.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Fold in approximately 1 c. blueberries, reserving a few extras. Drop dough by spoonfuls (carefully! See how some of mine ended up crooked? Getting the dough in evenly/centered is important!) into parchment rolls until each one is about 3/4 full. Press remaining blueberries gently into the dough on the top of each muffin (because the fruit on the top is always the best, in my opinion!), and bake until tester placed in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Mine took about 50-60 min, but I think my oven might run on the cool side.

Seriously, folks. They are SO good.
Now. Who wants to be my crafting friend and come over for early mornings of food, drink, and some kind of drawing/sewing/collage/beadwork/what-have-you? I'm in the market for a crafty buddy. Is there a craigslist forum for this?

1 comment:

The Clothes Horse said...

That breakfast sounds delicious. There is something very nice about comfort things in cooler times.
As for crafting buddies perhaps you could join a flickr group...?