If you have Liked my blog page on Facebook – and thank you so much if you have – then you know that I was traveling in Egypt last weekend. I have finally gotten straight that Upper Egypt is south and Lower Egypt is north and I am sad to be leaving this place just as I get the hang of it! It’s all to do with the Nile, you see. This ancient, mighty river flows north all the way through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. Most of its path is pure desert and, yet, along the banks and into the adjoining land, amazing vegetation grows in an astounding manner. Flying into Luxor from Cairo, we saw acres and acres and acres of green. As we traveled by van and bus to temples and tombs, all impressive testimonies to the ingenuity and wealth of ancient Egypt, we saw those lands being worked (mostly by hand with the occasional tractor) by modern-day Egyptians no less ingenious, providing food for the nation. We passed fields of banana trees, corn, sugar cane and trucks and wheelbarrows piled high with ripe red tomatoes and shiny purple eggplant sand green cabbages more than a foot and a half across. No kidding! I will include a few photos of our trip after the regularly scheduled Muffin Monday muffin recipe for those who might be interested.
This week’s muffin comes from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home To Yours. It is a simple recipe made beautiful by a generous streusel topping. My only two alterations were the addition of one green apple chopped finely (and some lemon juice to stop it going brown) and a teaspoon of cinnamon, because I think allspice, apples and cinnamon are very good friends. I hope you all agree.
For the streusel:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
5 tablespoons or 70g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the muffins:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large green apple
2 cups or 250g all-purpose flour
1/2 cup or 115g granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed or 50g dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 115g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C and grease your muffin tin or line it with paper liners.
First we will make the streusel topping. Put the flour, brown sugar and allspice in a small bowl and stir with a fork, mashing out the lumps in the brown sugar.
Add in the cold butter, cut into chunks and combine with a pastry blender or your fingers. I tend to start out with the pastry blender and then use my fingers to get rid of the final large stubborn lumps of butter. Refrigerate until ready to use.
On to the muffins! Measure out two tablespoons of lemon juice into a small bowl big enough to hold your chopped apple. Peel, core then chop the apple and add it to the lemon juice, stirring well to make sure all the little pieces of the apple are covered. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, allspice, cinnamon and salt. Mash the brown sugar lumps out with a fork.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter and vanilla extract.
Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold them together until just mixed.
Fold in the chopped apple.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
Heap some streusel topping on each muffin. This makes a lot of topping so don’t be shy. Dorie’s instructions say to lightly press the topping down into the batter but I completely forgot this step. I didn’t lose any topping while baking so don’t stress out if you do too.
Bake in the preheated oven about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool on a rack for a few minutes and then remove the muffins to cool completely.
Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop Anuradha a quick line to join her on this journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week. Make sure to go and check out what my fellow bloggers have come up with this week!
Plus learn all you ever need to know about muffins, right here at Muffin 101.
~ ~ ~And, now, some photos from our trip.
|A tomb in the Worker's Village - these are the folks that dug the enormous tombs |
for the Valley of the Kings, where, sadly, photo taking is no longer allowed.
|Some of the beautiful decorations from inside the tomb.|
|The Habu Temple in Luxor.|
|Amazing that color still remains.|
|Going to market?|
|The streets were filled with these little trucks and even motorbikes loaded with old corn stalks to be used for roofing.|
|The desert highway from Luxor to Abydos, away from the Nile, obviously.|
|Donkeys are a typical mode of transportation. We must have seen at least one hundred.|
|Washing day! I love the way they paint their balconies. Some even had curtains to keep out the dust and sun.|
|Full load of bananas.|
|Not sure you can tell how large these cabbages were but they are ENORMOUS.|
|Tractors and camels (and donkeys and mules and water buffalo) all worked the fields and plied the roads.|
|The temple in Abydos.|
|Carvings in the temple of Dendera|
|Empty sarcophagi outside the temple of Dendera.|
|Beautiful town streets that have an irrigation system. And a street cleaner.|
|More painted balconies and laundry.|
|We passed this lovely mosque on our way home.|