Red Currant Spelt Muffini

Oct 3, 2010 by

No, that's not a typo in the title. Allow me to explain. There are no such things as muffins in Italy. I keep asking around: "Hey--do you guys know what muffins are?" And they do, but only as some distant creation formed in strange tins in the United States. "What do you call them?" I asked my boyfriend one Sunday, as I prepared a batch of muffins for his virgin experience. "We call them muffin," Guido replied. "But what do you call them in plural? When there's more than one?" "Muffin," he said, laughing. "But that's ridiculous," I said. "If you're going to use the American word, then you should have a plural form." I thought for a moment about Italian grammar. Since most foreign words like "film" and "computer" are masculine by default, "muffin" must also be masculine. This means it should have the "o" ending when singular and the "i" ending when plural--if it were a normal word. "From now on," I said, "we'll call them...Muffini." And thus, amidst a storm of laughter, Muffini were born. Though I'm not celiac, I'm definitely sensitive to wheat and sometimes gluten altogether, depending on the day. So I was so excited to find spelt flour in our nearby health food store which usually doesn't bother me. I searched high and low for a simple spelt recipe that didn't call for ten million, hard to find ingredients like yogurt and applesauce, and found the base for this one here, on the King Arthur Flour website. I'm not against complicated recipes, I just don't always have the ingredients in my fridge, and I'm also starting to like the Italian philosophy of keeping it simple. Muffins are a favorite for me because they're easy to make and very tasty with a little fruit added. I'm a big berry fan; I love the burst of tartness surrounded by sweet, warm muffini-ness. But you could probably substitute some other fruit if you adjust the recipe a bit. These would also be fabulous with a half cup of walnuts or, even better, pecans...mmm...
Red Currant Spelt Muffini Servings: 12 to 14 muffins Ingredients (in order of appearance):
  • 2-1/4 (280 g) cups spelt flour (farro in Italy, or you can also use whole wheat)
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) cane sugar (or white)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbs vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder (if you add powder, mix it with the dry ingredients)
  • 1-1/4 cups (300 ml) milk
  • G-Spot Ingredient: 1 Tbs of grated orange rind (the rind of one large orange)
  • 1 cup (150g) red currants*
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • Optional but yummers!: A little sugar to sprinkle on top of each muffin, right before you put them in the oven
*Note: Halved raspberries, white currants, or gooseberries are excellent substitutes, as are blueberries or halved blackberries. But if you use a sweeter berry, cut the sugar down to 1/2 cup or 100g). If you use wet or frozen berries, I highly suggest you coat them with a little flour, which helps them stay in the mixture without sinking to the bottom of the pan. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220 C). Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin tin. Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix together the milk, eggs, oil, and orange rind and combine with the dry ingredients, stirring for 20 seconds and no more. Gently fold in the red currants and nuts, just until blended in. If you're really looking for the big "O," sprinkle a pinch of sugar on top of the muffin right before you put it in. (You won't regret it!) Fill the muffin cups two-thirds full and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy! P.S. You can learn all about the different kinds of berries on this awesome website. Fun!

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