Espresso, fig and walnut muffins
A weekend breakfast has to include coffee in some shape or form – even if you don’t drink it, the aroma is so utterly redolent of lazy mornings that you may as well prepare some as the culinary equivalent of a scented candle. Alternatively, of course, you could bake these muffins. (Strictly speaking, Americans might quibble with the name – muffins are often made with oil, rather than butter, but I prefer the flavour and texture of these, and it sounds more acceptable than cake at breakfast time.)
The Viennese, possibly the world’s most enthusiastic scoffers of Kaffee und Kuchen, like their coffee scented with fig, a combination which I think works wonderfully well – the sweet earthiness of the fruit marrying perfectly with the rich toasty flavour of the beans to give a kind of sophisticated fig roll effect (not that I’m saying one ever grows out of a fig roll). The walnuts, as well as adding a kind of muesli-ish vibe that helps to justify piggish consumption, also give the muffins a more interesting texture.
- 200g soft dried figs, stalks removed
- 150ml very hot, strong coffee
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 200g soft light brown sugar
- 250g plain flour
- A pinch of salt
- 115g butter, melted
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 75g walnuts, roughly chopped
1. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with muffin papers, and preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
2. Purée 150g of figs with a little of the coffee, then put into a bowl with the rest of the coffee and the bicarbonate of soda and set aside to cool slightly. Finely chop the remaining figs.
3. Put the sugar and flour into a large mixing bowl with a pinch of salt, and combine the melted butter and eggs in a jug. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones, add the fig and coffee mixture, the walnuts and the chopped figs, and stir together quickly – it’s important not to over-mix.
4. Spoon the batter into the prepared cases and bake for about 25–30 minutes, until well risen and golden.