13 December 2012

AUNTIE PASTA: Christmas Tree Muffins

SARONNO, Italy – Here’s a recipe that was tailor made for my daughter Stephanie. It’s a savory muffin with a small stalk of broccoli in the center of it. I’m not sure when she developed her passion for broccoli, it may have been during the years she was hanging out with her grandfather learning to play poker and cook things with eggs on them, but for as long as I can remember her favorite food has always been broccoli. So what could be better than a broccoli muffin? 
 Broccoli Muffins
Leave it to the Italians, who don’t have a tradition of Christmas trees or muffins, to take to the idea of a broccoli stalk in the middle of a muffin and call it a Christmas Tree Muffin. 

I understand why the design happy Italians like it. The broccoli does sort of look like a tree, not necessarily a Christmas tree, but with a little imagination I guess you could get there.  But as far as the texture of the broccoli and the texture of the muffin working together, I think it might be better to chop the broccoli up into little pieces, but given my record I would never say that.  

Like all the other things I’ve been wrong about during these plus 20 years, I’m sure there must be a very logical reason for the choice. Or maybe not. There are a lot of things I can't make any sense out of, and yet others seem to think they work just fine. Even the part about putting turmeric in the muffin mix to match the yellow and green tops of the broccoli flower seems a little dubious to me, but like I said it's not like I've never been wrong about anything.  

Well with a little more checking, it turns out I’m wrong about everything. Instead of the broccoli in the middle of the muffin idea originating here in the center of the Broccoli Kingdom, which is what I originally thought, broccoli muffins turn out to be rather standard fare in other parts of the world, along with dozens of variations. Who knew?  At any rate here’s the recipe. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I still have my doubts but the proof will be in the eating.
 More Broccoli Muffins
  Ingredients for Broccoli ‘Christmas Tree’ Muffins (about 12 muffins)
• 12 broccoli stalks (see photo) 
• 200 grams butter
4 large eggs
• 300 grams flour
• 1 packet of yeast (yeast come in mono-dose packages here which more or less equal 1 teaspoon.
• 1 tablespoon of sugar
• 100 grams of grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 teaspoon of turmeric
• Pepper

1. Boil (or steam) the broccoli stalks in salted water for a minute or two, then drain them well.

2. Mix together the butter and sugar, and then add the eggs, one at a time.  In another bowl mix the flour, baking powder, tumeric, salt and pepper and add to the butter, sugar and egg mix.  Add in  the Parmesan cheese and thoroughly  mix with a wooden spoon or spatula, until smooth.  

3. Line a muffin tin with paper cups and put a spoon of mixture into each muffin cup (or fill every space of a silicone mold ). Put a broccoli stalk  in each baking cup and bake in a preheated oven at 180 ° C (355° F)  for at least 30 minutes.

4. At the end of the cooking time, when the muffins are golden brown, take them out of the oven and let them cool before serving. 

In the Italian recipe they recommend that you cut the muffins in half just before serving them so everyone can see the ‘Christmas tree. I like that part, especially if you serve them for brunch on the Sunday before Christmas. Happy Holidays.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there. Food on Friday: Muffins and Cupcakes is open for entries. This looks like a neat one! I do hope you link it in. This is the link . Please check out some of the great links there are already. Cheers