Cherry & Ricotta Muffins

Posted on March 27, 2011

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As my recent posts (Almond & Pear Tart) will attest, I’ve been having a bit of a cupboard clear out. Among other delights, I was faced with a tin of black pitted cherries in juice.

I pondered my options….cherry pie maybe, cherry cobbler, cherry sauce for game perhaps?? However, the problem with tinned cherries is that they lose a lot of their taste and character in the canning process, so they really need to be enhanced by their other ingredients to enjoy them. It just so happened that I also had a pot of ricotta left over from another recipe experiment that needed finishing and, though toying with a rather boring solution of a sweet pancake filling, I decided that a cherry and ricotta cake was the best way to go. I decided to add cherry yoghurt to the batter mix to enhance the cherry flavour and as I only had half a tub of ricotta left, I settled on making  cupcakes rather than a large cake. From these random ingredients came this recipe for Cherry & Ricotta Muffins.

I absolutely love the flexibility of cooking and the endless possibilities that it represents. In some situations the results are sadly bin-worthy, but in other cases such as this, I can be rather proud of what can be created from seemingly unconnected ingredients.

If you fancy making these, I should advise that you really need to leave them to cool before you eat them and definitely before you ice them. The cherries take on a molten, tongue-burning hotness (I speak from greedy experience), and they need to cool to firm up. They don’t really need icing as they are quite delicious in their own right, but they do look rather pretty when they are.

I’d love to know what’s lurking in the back of your cupboards that you’re clueless about how to use. For me, the next challenge is condensed milk!!!

Cherry & Ricotta Muffins

180g canned cherries* (drained, juice squeezed out as much as possible & chopped), 1 egg (beaten), 130g ricotta, 80g sugar, 120g cherry yoghurt, 50g butter (melted & cooled), 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 lemon (zest only), 130g plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 pinch bicarbonate of soda, 1 pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 180c/GM4. Whisk egg & ricotta together. Beat in the yoghurt, cooled butter and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, bicarbonate, sugar and lemon zest. Add wet mix to dry ingredients. Stir to combine. Add chopped cherries and stir to distribute. Fill your muffin cases 2/3 full (this mix will make 6-8 muffins depending on the size of your cases) and put into the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove and leave to cool.

If you want to ice them, I followed Cupcake Style’s recipe, halving the amount and adding a touch of food colouring. I then piped the filling around the top of the cooled muffins.

*I’m sure these would work just as nicely (if not better!), with the same amount of fresh pitted cherries if you have them – I’ll be trying this out soon!

Enjoy eating,

Helen x

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