OK, I don’t usually claim to have god-like qualities or wizardly talents (although reading the last Harry Potter book gave me some funny dreams) but I think I may have summoned the sunshine by baking these lovely orange and blueberry muffins.
I made them on Sunday when the world was grey, dull and a bit chilly – real pull-the-duvet-back-over-your-head-and-forget-about-it weather. However, by the time I pulled these zesty treats out of the oven, everything had changed for the better and stayed sparkly the whole day long. And what do you know – it’s sunny today as well.
I think you’ll agree that the evidence presented is highly credible, cause and effect has been clearly established and the link is undeniable.
Unfortunately, my new-found powers didn’t stop most of the blueberries sinking to the bottom of the muffins. Ah – I guess every gift has its dark side.
Makes 12 muffins
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
About ¾ cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons of honey
110g/ 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup of sugar
2 cups plain flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup of blueberries
1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 200C/gas mark 6. Butter/spray your muffin pan and place on a baking sheet.
2. Put the orange juice into a measuring cup and add enough buttermilk to make up 1 cup. (See cook’s notes below.) Then put this mixture into a bowl with the eggs, honey and melted butter. Whisk together.
3. In another bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of orange is strong.
4. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
5. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and work quickly to blend (but be careful not to overblend or the resulting muffins will be tough).
6. Gently stir in the blueberries and divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups.
7. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. When fully baked, the tops of the muffins will be golden and springy to touch – and a thin knife inserted in the centre of the muffins will come out clean.
8. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for five minutes before removing the muffins from the tin.
My orange yielded about ¾ cup of juice, which was clearly going to make for a soggy muffin. So I just chucked in ¼ cup with the ¾ cup of buttermilk specified and drank the rest of the juice. Waste not, want not and all that.
And yes, I could have rolled the blueberries in flour to stop them sinking in the muffin batter but this particular omnipotent being is grumpy/forgetful in the mornings and was concentrating on summoning back the good weather rather than fruity aesthetics. It’s supposed to be a bad sign when you start talking about yourself in the third person, isn’t it? Oh dear.