I made mandarin, almond and poppy seed muffins!
I've been thinking about frying mandarins for a while. I'm not saying that's an especially normal thing to contemplate for an extended period of time, but what can you do. When an idea ensnares you it ensnares you, and the idea of slowly caramelising mandarin pieces had ensnared me. Ensnared. Ensnared. That doesn't even look like a real word does it.
So this morning I gave it a go! I put some mandarin bits in a frying pan, with a cheery yellow lump of butter, a few sprinklings of cinnamon, and I let it bubble away while I watched, entranced. Entranced. Entranced!
Tastes good! Made me some muffins! Here's the recipe:
~ 5 large mandarins without seeds
~ 5-10 more mandarins, juiced. You'll need enough to make 3/4 cup of juice (I used about 10 really little, really sour ones for this and they were delicious! The more tart the better. Get the ones off the tree in your grandma's backyard, they'll be perfect!)
1 1/2 tsp butter
2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups wholemeal plain flour
1/2 cup castor sugar (I tend to go easy on the sugar when I make muffins, but if you're more into the traditional, sweet, indulgent kinda muffin then I'd ramp this up maybe 3/4 of a cup)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, whisked
juice and grated lime from 2 lemons
1/4 cup slivered almonds
What to do
Put the mandarin pieces from your large mandarins into a frying pan, along with your butter and cinnamon. Fry gently, stirring occasionally, until they've started to go brown on both sides and look all gooey and caramel-y. After you've fried them for a few minutes, pour in 1/4 of your mandarin juice, and let it continue frying on low heat until the juice starts to look syrup-y and delicious.
In a bowl, combine your flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds.
In a jug, mix your milk, eggs, lemon juice, lemon rind, and the remaining 1/2 cup mandarin juice.
Pour your milky-eggy-citrus-juice into the flour mixture, and stir until well combined (make sure there are no pockets of unmixed flour-y bits).
Gently fold through the fried mandarins and mandarin syrup. Don't overmix it at this stage, it's nice to find those gooey, delicious pockets of mandarin in your muffins!
Spoon into muffin tins. Before you pop them in the oven, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with your slivered almonds.
Bake at 180 for 10-15 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean (keep in mind, if you stick the knife into one of your delicious mandarin pockets it might not come out entirely clean, but you just need to make sure the muffin mix itself is cooked through)