One of these fine days I will get around to posting my thoughts about and basic formula for The Perfect Muffin. If you have my cookbook, Pacific Northwest Palate: Four Seasons of Great Cooking, the discussion is on page 249. But for now, I just want to get this wonderful new muffin recipe to you.
If you are following @LunaCafe on Twitter, you know that the OtherWorldly Kitchen is overflowing with rhubarb. It’s everywhere! Open frig one and it falls out on you. Open frig two and you get the same. Perhaps I should start freezing some of this bounty, eh?
If you are keen on rhubarb too, you might want to check out our Rhubarb Primer, which includes a list of all the rhubarb recipes I have developed thus far. I love watching this list grow each spring and early summer. So far this year, I posted Apple Cider-Brined Tenderloin of Pork with Rhubarb Deglazing Sauce and Spring Rhubarb & Apple Crisp with Toasted Hazelnut Streusel.
However, I also developed recipes for Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Rhubarb Syrup & Basil Syrup, Rhubarb Margarita with Rhubarb-Infused Silver Tequila, Rhubarb Lemon-Lime Cooler, Rhubarb Strawberry Sorbet with Candied Orange Zest, Rhubarb Ginger Sauce, Rhubarb, Ginger, & Chile Chutney, and Rhubarb & Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake. I’m afraid rhubarb season will be over before I have time to post all of these.
But I couldn’t move on to strawberries and blueberries without at least sharing these fabulous muffins with you. MauiJim says they are the best he has ever eaten. I wish I could have captured an audio clip of his little murmurings as he was eating the first one.
We devoured the entire batch over a few days. And the remarkable thing was that they were as good on day three (with a 20-second refresh in the microwave) as on day one. That just isn’t typical of muffins, as you surely know.
Rhubarb Cardamom Lime Muffins
Muffins don’t get any better than this. The texture is tender and open, with sweet/tart rhubarb goodness throughout. Plus, there is just something magical about the combination of cardamom, lime, and rhubarb.
To balance the tart bursts of rhubarb on the palate, the caramelized streusel topping is a must. Don’t even think about leaving it out.
1½ cups ½-inch diced rhubarb (about 7 ounces, 1 medium-size, trimmed rhubarb stalk)
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
finely grated zest of 1 large lime
¾ cup King Arthur unbleached, all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 32 pieces
2 cups King Arthurs unbleached, all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup sugar
1 large egg
8 tablespoons melted butter, cooled slightly
2/3 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
1/3 cup milk
- To make the rhubarb mixture, in a mixing bowl, combine the rhubarb, sugar, cardamom, cloves and lime zest. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let macerate for at least 30 minutes. Mixture should appear very juicy when maceration is complete.
- To make the streusel topping, in a small mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients, and cut in the butter until mixture is evenly crumbly. (Alternatively, you can beat the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, and then quickly mix in the remaining ingredients.) Reserve for a moment.
- To make the muffin batter, in a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and then add sugar. Whisk thoroughly to distribute the chemical leaveners. Reserve for a moment.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg briefly, and then whisk in the melted butter, Greek yogurt, and milk.
- Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients, and stir quickly and gently with a large, flexible rubber spatula just to evenly moisten. The batter should still be lumpy.
- Lightly spray a traditional 12-unit muffin or mini popover pan with vegetable spray.
- Divide the batter among the cups, letting the batter mound naturally. The cups should be nearly full.
- Sprinkle the streusel topping on top of each muffin and then press it down lightly into the batter (so that it doesn’t fall off during baking). You may have a small amount of streusel topping left over. You can bake it separately and use as in ice cream topping if you wish.
- Bake immediately at 400° for about 20-25 minutes. Internal temperature of the muffins will register 190º when fully baked.
Makes 12 regular-size muffins.
More rhubarb recipes from LunaCafe: