Fit for a Queen

Like many, I am a big fan of Scandinavia. The wooden houses, the folk art, and of course…the cooking. I first heard about Signe Johansen upon discovering her book Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking…Scandilicious, and enjoyed every page of its mouth-watering, beautifully photographed recipes. Last year, Signe released a second book which got me even more excited, because it was all about Scandinavian baking. OH YES.

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With equally stunning photography, and recipes varying from Danish pastries to rum truffles to cardamom bun-pops to whisky cake, this book quickly rose to the top of my must-bake pile. Signe was the lady who inspired my obsession with cheese straws. Since then, I’ve baked her bread plait for friends, who declared it a triumph: buttery and ever so slightly sweet.

But today I will be sharing Signe’s recipe for Queen Maud muffins, so-called because blueberry and raspberry jam is known in Scandinavia as ‘Queen Maud’s jam’. How lovely! Last week, when the sun was shining and the weather warming up, I decided it was the perfect recipe to usher in Spring. Today, it is snowing and bitterly cold. Meh, the muffins are still delicious.

Containing wholemeal flour and yoghurt, these muffins are wholesome and not-too-sweet, making them great for breakfast. They are equally lovely for afternoon tea; spongy and moist with fruit. I used frozen raspberries and blueberries instead of fresh, and they worked fine. If you wanted to sweeten them up a bit, I think they would be lovely with demerara sugar, as well as oats, sprinkled on the top. So go ahead and make these fruity muffins, and perhaps Spring will appear after all. And if not, at least you’ll have something delightful to eat while you wait out the cold…

Queen Maud muffins
from Scandilicious Baking by Signe Johansen

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Ingredients:
3 medium eggs, beaten
150g (5oz) caster sugar
2 tbsp plain yoghurt
200ml (7fl oz) whole milk
150g (5oz) refined spelt or plain flour
100g (3½oz) wholemeal flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1¼ tsp fine sea salt
75g (2.5oz) butter, melted
100g (3½oz) fresh or frozen blueberries
100g (3½oz) fresh or frozen raspberries
spelt or oat flakes to garnish

– Line a 12 cup muffin tray (at least 3-4cm deep) with scrunched up squares of parchment paper or muffin cases, and preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/Gas mark 7.

– Mix the eggs and sugar together in a medium bowl. Stir the yoghurt into the milk in a small jug. Put the flours, raising agents, cinnamon (if using) and salt in a large bowl and stir to distribute the raising agents evenly. Make a well in the middle and pour in the egg mixture, the yoghurt-milk mixture and the melted butter. Stir 4-5 times to mix everything together and then fold in the berries, working gently but quickly so the berries don’t bleed to much into the mixture (this will be easier to avoid if the berries are frozen – Emily). Mix 4-5 times more. The trick with muffins is not to overmix the batter, so err on the side of caution and stir up to 12 times altogether but no more (any pockets of flour you come across can be teased out and mixed in using the tip of a sharp knife or skewer).

– Use an ice cream scoop or small spoon to scoop the mixture into each muffin case until it is three-quarters full, then sprinkle the top with spelt or oat flakes.

– Bake on the upper-middle shelf of the oven for 10 minutes before turning the heat down to 190°C/170°C fan/Gas mark 5 and baking for a further 5-10 minutes or until the muffins have risen well and look pale golden brown. If in doubt insert a skewer into one – when you remove it there should be no uncooked mixture, only a few crumbs.

– Cool on a wire rack. These keep for a day or two in an airtight container, or you can freeze them in foil for a couple of months. Just reheat from frozen at 150°C/130°C fan/Gas mark 2 for 15 minutes for fresh muffins.

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3 thoughts on “Fit for a Queen

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