Rhubarb & Cardamom Muffins

Recently, during my daily igoogle check up, a recipe caught my eye and lured me to a blog called Kitchen Culinaire. It was for rhubarb cardamom breakfast muffins, which looked absolutely amazing. I printed it off and stashed it away for future use!

I love a bit of rhubarb and try to make at least one crumble during the rhubarb season. This year it’s seemed that rhubarb has been more popular than ever…I was even introduced to rhubarb bellini’s at a friends party recently. She had stewed the rhubarb with some sugar, passed it through a sieve, poured some into a glass and topped it up with champagne…simple yet divine!

I have been carrying the rhubarb muffin recipe around in my handbag for a couple of weeks now with the intention that next time I was in the supermarket I would buy the ingredients but I somehow kept getting waylaid. I was re-inspired by the fresh rhubarb on sale at Kinvara Farmers Market, on my recent trip to Ireland  but after prevaricating a bit too much, I returned to the stall only to find that it had all sold out! I didn’t let this put me off and yesterday I unearthed the somewhat crumpled recipe from the depths of my bag and got around to baking the little beauties!

Kitchen Culinaire is written by a Canadian lady and therefore all of the measurements are in cups, which is still a pretty alien concept to me but I managed to work it out with the help of Delia and her online conversion tables.

I also risked making a few substitutions, which actually worked really well. So here’s my version of the recipe…

Rhubarb & Cardamom Muffins

150g plain flour

150g wholemeal flour (I used self raising flour because that’s all I had in the cupboard and just halved the quantity of baking powder)

160g granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 fine sea salt

240ml creme fraiche (the original recipe used plain yoghurt)

8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled (I have never measured butter by tablespoon before so I just did my best to approximate 8 tablespoons worth)

2 large eggs

175g rhubarb cut into 1/4 inch dice (This worked out to be approx 2 stalks)

For the topping – 

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

My first hurdle came when my local supermarket didn’t stock ground cardamom. I was determined not to be put off and decided to grind my own…I slit open 25 cardamom pods, scraped out the seeds and ground them to a powder using good old fashioned elbow grease in a pestle and mortar. This made the perfect amount for this recipe (you need 1 tsp in total).

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, make sure the oven rack is in the middle of the oven and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cases.

Mix the flours, sugar, baking powder, cardamom, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.

Whisk the crème fraiche, melted butter and eggs in another bowl until smooth.

Lightly stir the liquids into the dry ingredients until just combined. Don’t over mix it or apparently the muffins will turn out very tough.

Stir in the diced rhubarb.

In a small bowl mix together the topping ingredients.

Divide the muffin mixture between the 12 cases (I actually made 13) and sprinkle over the sugar and cardamom topping. 

Bake for approx 20 minutes until they’re golden brown and a skewer/sharp knife comes out clean if plunged into the centre of one.

Allow to cool slightly and then tuck in!

They turned out to be incredibly moist and the fresh tartness of the rhubarb was balanced beautifully by the sweet, spicy topping. My rhubarb repertoire is looking pretty healthy.

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