Thursday, May 17, 2012

Strawberries and Cream

This month's improv challenge from Frugal Antics is strawberries and cream, which at first I thought sounded a bit simple and boring, especially seeing as I don't much like cream. However, it turns out we can use any product that has cream in the name, which provides far more scope for the imagination. At first I thought I would do a loaf with a cream cheese topping, then I thought perhaps muffins with cream cheese frosting. A while back I saw a blog entry for roast strawberries and just now I have checked what google has to say on the subject. It seems that quite a lot of people are roasting strawberries these days and they all do it in pretty much the same way, with some oil and balsamic vinegar, maybe some sugar, maybe some salt, some even use black pepper! I absolutely had to try it, so that is the strawberry part of the challenge sorted. However, my first efforts at roasting strawberries went just a little awry - an awful lot of liquid came out of those strawberries! So I scooped it all out and am going to use it in a salad dressing perhaps. I have adjusted the recipe below so hopefully there won't be excessive amounts of liquid the next time.

Now, I didn't want to make anything too sweet and ostentatious, just something very normal and easy that I can take to work with me for lunch, or maybe even eat for breakfast. So I decided to make a muffin! But what about the cream? Well these are surprise muffins (because surprise muffins are my favourite type) and the surprise centre to these ones is a dollop of cream cheese! This muffin recipe is based on the berry muffin recipe in one of the Alison Holst cookbooks - I have been using it and adapting it for years, it's pretty much fool-proof. At the last minute I decided to add yet another flavour to these muffins with a lemon glaze, because I love combining lemon and strawberry. Despite the late hour at which I baked these, I couldn't help but try one immediately - they are absolutely delicious!

Roast Strawberry Surprise Muffins

Roast strawberries:
500 grams strawberries, halved
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

A pinch of salt
A pinch of cracked black pepper

Muffin batter:
2 cups plain flour
3 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 cup milk
Cream cheese

Lemon glaze:
1/4 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Turn the oven on to 180 degrees celsius and line a roasting pan with baking paper. Place the halved strawberries in the roasting pan and sprinkle the sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper over the top. Roast for about 45 minutes. Scoop the liquid out of the pan before you use the strawberries or the muffins will end up with too much liquid.

In the meantime, Sift the flour, cream of tartar and baking soda into a large bowl. You could of course use baking powder instead of the cream of tartar and baking soda but I find that making my own mix of raising agents makes the muffins rise more nicely. Add the sugar to the dry ingredients and stir them well to combine them. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, vanilla essence, cooking oil and milk.

Line a muffin tin with paper liners (they really are neccesary for berry muffins because the berries will stick to the tin). You should also grease the top of the muffin tin so that the muffin tops don't stick..

Now, when all the various aspects are ready, including the strawberries, it is time to combine everything. First pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and fold gently just a few times, until it is half mixed. Then add the strawberries and continue folding the mixture until the flour has just been combined with everything else. The mixture should seem lumpy.

Now, place a spoon full of muffin batter into each muffin liner, so that they are about half-way full. Then take your cream cheese and place a heaped teaspoonful into the centre of each muffin. Add another small spoonful of batter to the muffins, so that the cream cheese is all covered.

Bake the muffins for about 20 to 25 minutes (mine took 20 but it will depend on your oven), until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (so long as you avoid the cream cheese that is) and the muffins are golden on top. They should also spring back when you press them gently with your finger.

Take the muffins out of the oven and leave them to cool in the pan for just a couple of minutes before removing them.

While the muffins are cooling in the pan prepare the lemon glaze by placing the lemon juice in a small bowl and stirring in the icing sugar until you have a very thin paste. Brush this onto the tops of each muffin while they are still warm.


  1. I've never roasted strawberries. That lemon glaze sure puts a delightful finish on your muffins. YUM!

  2. Neat touch with the lemon glaze! That sounds great.

  3. I love surprise muffins, too. There is nothing like biting into a creamy center!!

  4. Wow, what wonderful muffins! I love strawberries and am much too impatient to wait before enjoying them. :) However, these muffins definitely seem like they would be worth the wait! Nice touch with the lemon glaze. Yum!

  5. Roasting the strawberries seems like such a great idea! Must try soon C:

  6. Funny, when we first got this challenge, I too thought of using balsamic and/or black pepper - look forward to trying your version! And I've never roasted strawberries before - yum.

  7. I love strawberries this time of year. These sound so good!

  8. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.


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