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Friday, July 24, 2009

Strawberry Ricotta Muffins

I have my computer back, if only for a short time, but we'll see. Apple is so great. I talked to a customer service rep, and my wonderful little life-saver of a laptop should be good as new, as soon as I can take it in again. Long story short, the repair place I went to went out of business sometime in the last two weeks but never bothered to call me!? AND wrecked the closing mechanism to keep the lid shut!! Apple was not impressed, and are paying for the repairs, even though it will not be worth the hassle (for them). Anyhoo, on with the show...

The strawberries are so fabulous right now. I am so glad I've been able to go grocery shopping the last few months, and I didn't miss out on ALL the fruit. Pears too! My favorite milkshake (thickshake, for you Aussies) is milk, ice cream, a pear, and pile of strawberries, oh and a splash of vanilla! So good.

But today I am sharing the muffins I made. I almost had a near disaster: the recipe called for "SR flour". I thought the SR was the brand name! You know how companies like to specify brand names on their cut-out-of-the-package-recipes, even though its completely unnecessary? The second before I added my ricotta and strawberries, I wondered aloud how come this recipe had no baking powder and salt. Then it hit me. SR means self-raising! I rarely use self-raising flour, and like I have said before, for some reason, sweet recipes in Oz almost all use self-raising, compared to N. America. I decided to chuck the batch, instead of adding baking powder and salt, since I would then be mixing the dough WAY too much, and we all know that muffins need not be blended, just moistened. Good call, on my part I think. Rather than waste a whole punnet of strawberries and ricotta on inedible rock-hard muffins, I just very quickly made a new batch of batter. And I am glad I did. They are one of the better muffins I have made, says Hubby.

250 g strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped.
2 1/2 cup self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup castor sugar (or fine grained sugar, if possible)
2 eggs
3 tsp melted butter
1 cup milk
1 cup ricotta
demerara sugar (raw cane sugar), to sprinkle on top

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF
2. Line 12 muffins tins (this batch made 18 muffins for me).
3. Sift flour and cinnamon into a bowl. Add sugar and mix together.
4. Lightly beat eggs in another bowl, and add milk and melted butter. Whisk together.
5. Make a well in dry ingredients, and add liquid to dry ingredients. Stir just until combined.
6. Add 3/4 cup ricotta and strawberries to the mix, and stir lightly.
7. Fill muffin cases and top off with a dollop of ricotta and a strawberry, and sprinkle with raw sugar.
8. Bake 20-25 minutes.

These turned out so nice, and are very moist. I think I would have also preferred the ricotta in larger chunks in the batter too. Not sure how to effectively do that, but possibly use cream cheese instead? I also thought the one small dollop on top looked a little weird after baking. I think if I do it the same way, I will put more on top, and less in the batter.