Fruit Muffins

I’ve made these GF buns countless times and the recipe always works. You can use any soft fresh fruit: try blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, etc. It’s fantastic with tinned peaches, mango, or mandarins too.

If you feel some icing/frosting would be even better, check out some options on my site.

Makes: 24 large muffins (but it’s easily halved if you need fewer)

Ingredients

  • 2 unwaxed lemons: finely grated zest, and juice
  • 250ml milk, at room temperature (see ‘Liquid Tip’ footnote)
  • 275-280g soft fruit, chopped if necessary for bite-sized pieces
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 175g cubed and softened unsalted butter
  • 300g soft light brown sugar (golden caster or golden granulated can be substituted)
  • 4 large eggs (they should total 260-280g when weighed in their shells)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon, almond or vanilla extract (see ‘Extracts’ footnote)
  • 400g gluten-free plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp each of one or two ground spices: cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, mace, pepper, etc (see ‘Spicing’ footnote)

Kit

  • Two 12-hole muffin tins
  • 24 large muffin cases
  • 1 large, 1 medium, and 1 small mixing bowls, and a measuring jug
  • Fine grater
  • Citrus juicer
  • Electric mixer (hand-held or stand), if not creaming butter/sugar by hand
  • Cooling rack

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 185 C (165 C fan-assisted). Line both muffin tins with paper cases.
  2. Add the squeezed lemon juice to the milk in the jug, and set aside.
    Yes, it will go ‘chunky’ – which will react with the GF baking powder later, providing extra lift.
  3. Lightly mix the fruit with the ground almonds in a small bowl, to thoroughly coat them – because coated fruit will not sink to the bottom during baking.
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, with the extract and lemon zest, and beat until very creamy.
  5. Measure the flour, baking powder, and spice(s) into a medium bowl, mix with a fork, and add to the butter/sugar alternating with the lemon milk, each in thirds. Stir manually really well after each addition. (Remember, this is gluten-free, so you don’t have to worry about over-mixing the dry with the wet; in fact, incorporate as much air as you can.)
  6. Fold in the fruit/ground almond mixture, and stir well to ensure the fruit is evenly distributed.
  7. Spoon into muffin cases no more than 2/3 full to allow for a good rise. The batter should ‘dollop’ i.e. not be runny, but hold its shape.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or so, turning trays halfway through for even baking, until golden brown and a light finger tap on the centre of a few buns springs back quickly. Remove the trays from the oven, remove the muffins from the tins, and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Liquid Tip
If using tinned fruit, try to use fruit-juice based options (not syrup); drain well, and reserve the liquid to make up no more than half the total milk amount (i.e. 125ml fruit liquid with 125ml milk).

Extracts
Use ‘extractnot ‘essence’ – the latter can be very chemically-tasting because it has no natural flavourings.

Match your extract with your fruit – the pictured muffins are raspberry with lemon extract. Almond goes well with cherries; vanilla with peaches, etc.

Spicing
The correct spicing can lift these fruit buns from ordinary to quite special. Some more exotic pairings of spice with fruit can be found here; some more ordinary pairing options (i.e. spices you probably have to hand!) can be found here. For a comprehensive guide to both herb and spice pairings with all kinds of food, this site is great.

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