Blueberry crumble muffins, infused with lemon zest and capped with a slightly sweet streusel topping. These were the notes I received from my partner (I may have added a few flourishes), who enjoyed the muffin at an Ottolenghi deli here in London. I was surprised, out of all of the sweets on the famous deli’s counter, he chose a muffin. It seemed unlike him, so I knew there had to be something special about them.
When in season, blueberries are my favourite fruit, but I don’t typically love baking or cooking with them, as they tend to become strangely earthy or fake-tasting once cooked. This recipe is neither. This recipe changed my mind.
While most blueberry muffins are not worth writing home (or a blog post) about, this recipe is different. Tiny cubes of apple add moisture without distracting from the moist crumb, fruity berries, and zingy lemon zest. And a simple streusel topping becomes a delicious, sweet and buttery crust that’s tempting to pick off of each and every muffin while they cool. I found the crumble topping also helps to retain the core’s moisture, acting as a very delicious edible seal and dry-out-proof muffin insurance policy.
I froze the muffins to great success, taking them out to defrost at room temperature 30 to 40 minutes before eating.
These are definitely more involved than a one-bowl, mix and bake muffin, but really, truly worth the extra steps. Relax and enjoy the process.
Blueberry Crumble Muffins
A classic blueberry streusel muffin is an essential recipe for any home baker’s repertoire. This particular recipe is from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, appearing on the eponymous London deli’s beautiful display counters. Not a one-bowl recipe, but well-worth the extra dishes and effort. This is a bakery-style treat that you’ll woo guests and yourself with. Lighter, more cake-like, and not dense or overly sweet, this impressive crumble-capped muffin recipe will soon be a staple on your kitchen counter.
Makes 12 to 15
Crumble (Streusel) Topping
3/4 cups (150g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (100g) cold unsalted butter, cubed
pinch, fine-grain salt
4 1/3 cups (540g) unbleached all-purpose flour
5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine-grain salt
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups (340g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 Tbsp (140g) unsalted butter, melted but not hot
1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tbsp (380mL) whole milk
Zest of 1 lemon
1 Granny Smith apple (unpeeled), cut into 1/2 to 1 cm dice
1 1/3 cups (200g) fresh or frozen unfrosted blueberries, plus more for topping
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF (170ºC). Line 1 to 2, 12-cup muffin pans with liners. You will make 12 extra-large muffins (you must have high-collared liners) or 15 regular muffins (with regular large liners).
Crumble (Streusel) Topping
- In a medium bowl, add all crumble ingredients and work with your hands until no large clumps of butter remain and mixture is uniform. Pop in the freezer to help the crumble topping hold its shape when baked.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In another large bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs, sugar, and melted butter. Whisk in the milk and lemon zest. Add the flour mixture and lightly fold until half-incorporated, and then fold in diced apple and blueberries until everything is just combined. Do not over-mix or your will have a very tough baked good as opposed to a light, buttery tender one.
- Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases to fill them up, dividing between 12 papers for extra-large muffins (they will grow a lot, so make sure your muffin papers have a high collar if going this route) or 15 regular muffins (for regular large muffin liners). Cover with the frozen crumble topping to form small domes over the batter, then dot with a few extra blueberries over each muffin.
- Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the muffin comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store airtight at room temperature for 1 to 2 days, or freeze airtight up to 2 months.