Muffins, small homemade cakes that carry the scent of home and love. Not flashy, yet beautiful in their simplicity. I hadn't made them for years, then a couple of months ago I bought a muffin baking tray and made up for all the missed occasions. I found a perfect (and really simple) recipe on an Italian website called Giallo Zafferano and have applied it several times, changing type of fruit and type of flour, and it has always worked! The version I'm sharing today is gluten free, nutty and delicious, featuring apples and hazelnuts.
I made these ones the 16th of August early morning, to have something sweet -and different- for breakfast to celebrate Vito's birthday. I was a bit worried as it was the first time I combined rice and hazelnut flour, but they turned out delicious. The only difference I noticed is that the top remained a little flatter, but the texture was just right.
Vito had bought some special types of flours a couple of days before, and I was really curious to try the hazelnut one. Considering its price and my inexperience, so far I have only used it to thicken a vegetable soup and for the muffins, but I have to tell you it tastes wonderful.
After breakfast we went out and spent a calm and relaxed day. We didn't do anything particularly glamorous, we just did the usual because, I reckon, that's what we truly like! So, for lunch we ate at Fiumefreddo Bio and then had a walk in Castello, with coffee break at Caffè La Serra. Around the area it's full of external pavilions, so we wandered around the exhibitions (loved the one at ISMAR, the Marine Biology Institute) until we reached Campo San Pietro di Castello and had another break, this time sitting on a red bench under the shade of the trees, leafing through the papers.
From San Pietro you can see the Ponte dei Pensieri, which leads to the gardens of Arsenale. Until a year ago, the gardens were accessible only by the visitor of Biennale. This year, instead, the part reserved to the exhibition area is private, whereas the Giardino delle Vergini is open to the public. It's where the free shuttle that takes you to Arsenale Nord leaves from. Anyway, we had a walk there too and then slowly headed towards home, stopping here and there to buy the final things for our evening meal.
In this period, our life is very simple. We have both been busy with new projects and although we haven't had the chance to go even on a short break, time has flown. Vito says that his birthday marks the end of the summer, as days start to get shorter and the temperature slightly cooler (thank goodness!!!). In fact, I think that the best period to be in Venice goes from the end of the Film Festival (thus the first week of September) to the beginning of November. Daylight is not as harsh and I find it a lot more pleasant to wander about and take pictures!
Anyway, going back to our muffins, as previously mentioned, I combined rice and hazelnut flour, but you can replace them with any kind of flour you want, the recipe still works. They were nice and moist, butter-free but with yogurt, and I served them with a little bit of jam on the side and green tea. Hope you like!
RECIPE: GLUTEN FREE APPLE AND HAZELNUT MUFFINS
10 minutes preparation + 20 minutes in the oven
250 gr sliced apple
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp crushed hazelnuts
1 organic egg
50 gr sugar
90 gr yogurt
30 ml oil
30 gr hazelnuts flour
95 gr rice flour
8 gr baking powder
1. Peel the apple, remove core and cut into small squares. Put in a bowl, pour a little bit of lemon juice and keep aside.
2. Pre-heat oven at 180°C.
3. In a cold steel bowl, whisk the egg with the sugar until you obtain a foamy mixture.
4. Aside, combine well yogurt and oil and add to the liquid mixture. Amalgamate.
5. Now add the previously sifted flour and baking powder and mix well. Finally add the apples and the crushed hazelnuts and give a final stir.
6. With a spoon, add the dough into the paper cups until it's finished. Top with a little bit of hazelnut's grain and bake for 20 minutes.
7. When ready, let sit in the oven for 5 minutes. Let cool at least one hour before serving.
Excellent served with a little bit of jam on the side.