Free food from nature, part 1: Ricotta-bramble muffins

First there were the bramble vines we’d monitored for weeks in the town cemetery. Then there were the huge (cultivated) berries hanging over the fence from the neighbor’s garden. Bramble bushes flourishing all over the county told us that there would be berries for everyone come late summer. Even Tesco was packaging Cambridgeshire blackberries… and then marking them down to 80p because the natives knew where they could get them for free. I picked until I had enough, liberating the fruit that was on the verge of rotting, and leaving plenty behind for other people – and of course for the birds – and then I baked.

This recipe is adapted from a ricotta-blueberry muffin recipe from Dorie Greenspan via Serious Eats; hers includes a nice introduction for uninitiated muffin bakers – that is, those who haven’t yet discovered how easy and gratifying they are to bake. The recipe makes 12 small (not mini) muffins, that are best eaten the same day.

  • 150 g (3/4 c) ricotta, preferably at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 115 g (1 American stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 150 g sugar (2/3 c)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • 235 g (2 c) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 180-190 g (1 1/3 c) blackberries (If they’re large, cut them into 3 or 4 bits so that the batter can better cohere around them when baked.)
1. Preheat oven to 200 °C (400 °F)
2. Butter or cooking-spray the 12 molds of a regular muffin tin, or fit with 12 paper muffin cups
3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk ricotta together with eggs until blended, then whisk in melted buter
4. In a larger bowl, combine the sugar and lime zest with your finger tips until blended and fragrant
5. Add flour, baking powder, soda, and salt, and mix with a fork
6. Fold wet ingredients into dry with a rubber spatula until just combined. The batter will be heavy and lumpy; that’s fine. Gently stir in the berries. The batter will now be a bit purply, and that’s fine, too.
7. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin – each mold should be half full – and immediately slide the tin into the preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 min, until the tops are golden-purple and a knife inserted into the center has no batter on it (though it may have berry, which won’t solidify). Remove the tin from the oven and carefully lift each muffin out and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

1 Comment

Filed under baking, food, recipe

One response to “Free food from nature, part 1: Ricotta-bramble muffins

  1. Pingback: Free food from nature, Part II: Margaret’s cobbler « Emily Drinking Tea

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