Wednesday, 12 October 2016 11:24

An apple a day won’t always keep mistakes away

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When I receive feedback about my column and it begins to overflow like pop fizzing over the sides of a bottle, I know one of two things has happened.

Either I’ve done something right, and readers are writing to let me know they’ve enjoyed a recent recipe.
Or I’ve done something wrong, and made a muddle of the ingredients or method or both.
Naturally, the latter makes me feel cringey inside. Makes me want to run up and down the street with my red pen, correcting every copy of the paper still on their doorsteps. Which would amount to trespassing at best and, at worst, a visit from the men-in-white-coats.
As someone who remembers her very first published typo, which occurred in April 2003 when I wrote "airplane hanger" instead of "airplane hangar," in a story, it’s never been easy to accept that mistakes happen, and will happen again.
Although, recipe muddles don’t usually happen three weeks in a row.
It began in early October, when an omission in the directions for Pan-Seared Chicken with Mushroom Cream Sauce led to confusion about when to add the chicken stock to the sauce.
Next, my blitz of mistakes zipped straight through a batch of Caramelized Pear Muffins.
And then, because as my mother says, “Bad things happen in threes,” I wrapped up my string of errors when I spilled the milk, so to speak, when it came to the directions for Pumpkin Brulée.
So now, in what I can only think of as a “Choose your own recipe correction,” exercise, I hang my head and offer the following:
If you live in a region in whose newspaper I printed wonky measurements for Caramelized Pear Muffins, the recipe should have read, “2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour,” and “3/4 cup granulated sugar.”
A few batches later (because the muffins are really that good!), I also came to reduce the juices and sugar in the pan down to caramel and add that into the batter. I increased the teaspoon of vanilla to a tablespoon, crumbled a bit of brown sugar over the tops of the muffins before baking, and admitted that the recipe makes 15-16 muffins, not an even dozen.
Meanwhile, for Pumpkin Brulée, please combine the cream and milk and heat those together until steaming.
(Alternately, for a full-fat experience, swap the milk for more cream.)
And similarly, when making Seared Chicken with Mushroom Cream Sauce, add the chicken stock after the pan juices and fortified wine in the pan have reduced by three-quarters in volume.
Okay, now I feel better. A little, at least.
Enough, anyway, to share a muffin recipe that came about when I ran out of pears and turned to apples.
I just need a few minutes, while I have someone read it over.
Apple Cinnamon Muffins
4 Gala apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbs pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed, plus more for sprinkling
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp flaked kosher salt
Add brown sugar and cinnamon into a non-stick skillet over high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon for a few minutes until the sugar begins to melt. Add apples and toss gently (constantly at first, and then occasionally) until about halfway cooked. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil and vanilla.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then, using a rubber spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Gently fold in apples.
Divide batter between 15-16 paper-lined muffin cups (or 12 muffins and a mini loaf). Sprinkle tops with a little brown sugar. Bake in a 375F oven for 20-25 minutes, until a tester inserted into the centre of the muffins comes out clean. Place pan on a wire rack to cool 5-10 minutes before removing muffins from pan to finish cooling.

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