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It must have been weeks since I last spotted a decent punnet of fresh strawberries in the supermarkets, the price being often blown out of proportion for a mere 250g of these imported berries. I have yet to come across a local variety that tastes sweet enough to be eaten on its own, so usually, they find their way into my baked goodies where their relative tartness can be overlooked. Though I initially bought these berries to be enjoyed with a tub of mascarpone cream, I found myself being drawn to these fine-looking Strawberry Crumb Muffins from Baker by Nature. Do not go by the long ingredients list – other than the strawberries, you will probably have everything you need in your kitchen for the delicious muffin batter, the buttery crumb topping, and the sticky glaze.

STRAWBERRY CRUMB MUFFINS

Ingredients:

For the Crumb Topping

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled

For the Strawberry Muffins

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups white granulated sugar

1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup whole milk, room temperature

1 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped

For the Vanilla Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Method:

  • For the crumb topping, combine the granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter in a large bowl.
  • Using forks or a pastry cutter, combine until mixture is very crumbly and resembles a coarse meal.

  • The crumbs should be about pea-sized. Place crumb mixture in the fridge or freezer until needed.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

  • In a large bowl, sift together 3 cups all purpose flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Using an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat on medium speed till light and fluffy.

  • Beat for about 3 minutes. Add egg, egg yolks, and vanilla and continue beating till well combined.
  • Reduce the speed to low; alternate adding flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour.

  • Be sure not to over mix. Place strawberries and remaining flour in a bowl; toss to coat completely.
  • Add the strawberries and any excess flour into the batter; use a spatula to gently fold the berries.

  • Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Top each cup with 2 tablespoons of crumb topping.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes until tops are golden brown and a toothpick in middle comes out clean.

  • For the vanilla glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and cream and whisk till it is smooth.
  • Add more cream to reach desired consistency and drizzle over the muffins right before serving.

Strawberry Crumb Muffins

This gorgeous chilled delight is actually more of a dessert than a drink and you will probably need a spoon to finish it after you are done with the drinking part. There are so many components that go in the making of falooda yet it is pretty simple to assemble once you have all your ingredients ready. While it is believed to originate from Persia, falooda is now well known throughout the Asian subcontinent under different names. In Mauritius we enjoy it as alouda, a flavoured milk drink with toukmaria/basil seeds and la mousse/jelly.  In addition to these, our refreshing strawberry falooda recipe from Sailu’s Food, is further enriched with chopped fresh fruit and falooda sev, topped with a scoop of boysenberry ice cream but you can try mango if berries are quite not your thing.

STRAWBERRY FALOODA

Ingredients:

2 cups full fat milk

1/2 cup strawberry jelly

5 tablespoons rose syrup

1 teaspoon basil seeds

1/2 cup falooda sev

5 pistachios, sliced

5 almonds, sliced

4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Candied cherries, for garnish

Method:

  • Bring milk to boil in a heavy based pan and simmer till it reduces to 1 1/2 cups. Remove from heat.
  • Bring to room temperature. Add 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons rose syrup to the milk, mix it well and chill.

  • Make jelly as per packet instructions. Cool and refrigerate, then cut it into small cubes and set aside.
  • Make falooda sev as per the instructions on the packet. Place in cold water and refrigerate until use.

  • Falooda sev can be replaced with wheat vermicelli. Cook vermicelli in water, drain and use as for sev.
  • Soak the basil seeds in about 1/3 cup water for 20 to 30 minutes and allow them to bloom. Set aside.

  • Chill serving glasses in the fridge for half an hour. To assemble falooda, take the chilled serving glass.
  • Add one generous tablespoon of rose syrup to each glass, then add 2 tablespoons of the jelly cubes.

  • You may add fresh chopped fruit of your choice like mango or berries after layering with jelly cubes.
  • Add 2 heaped tablespoon of bloomed basil seeds over jelly and layer it with 1/4 cup of falooda sev.

  • Slowly pour chilled rose milk till 3/4th of the glass. Next add two scoops of vanilla ice cream on top.
  • Finally drizzle some rose syrup, garnish with sliced nuts and a cherry. Serve immediately. Serves 4-5.

Strawberry Falooda

Panna cotta is dessert I think I should make more often. It is one of those examples which justifies the old adage that ‘simple is beautiful’ or ‘less is more’. All the way from Italy, this delicate chilled pudding is traditionally made from cream and gelatin with a side serving of fruit coulis. You can play around with the gelling agent and the dairy as long as your final product has a soft set and a slight wobble with a smooth, melt-in-the-mouth texture. You need to make sure your mixture does not turn lumpy or gritty at any point; it is not a good idea to walk away from your pan as it goes on the stovetop. If you are worried that it does not get to set properly, you can serve this vanilla speckled strawberry panna cotta, from BBC Good Food, right out of dessert cups or shot glasses instead of unmolding it on a plate.

STRAWBERRY PANNA COTTA

Ingredients:

For the Panna Cotta

3 agar agar leaves

450ml double cream

200ml whole milk

100g white caster sugar

1 vanilla pod

For the Strawberries

400g strawberries, hulled

1½ teaspoon corn flour

50g white caster sugar

Method:

  • For the panna cotta, put agar agar leaves in a small bowl of cold water to soften, about 5 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, pour the cream, milk and sugar into a pan, split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds.

  • Add the seeds, along with the pod, to the cream mixture. Heat gently until hot, but not bubbling.

  • Remove agar agar leaves from the water, squeeze out any excess liquid then add to the hot cream.

  • Stir the mixture until agar agar is dissolved and leave to stand for 20 to 30 minutes until cooled.

  • The vanilla pods should be suspended in the liquid by this point. Strain mixture through a sieve.

  • Pour into 6 serving glasses, then chill for at least 3 hours. Toss strawberries in a small saucepan.

  • Add the corn flour and sugar in a saucepan. Place over a medium heat and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

  • Cook until the released juices thicken and strawberries are softened. Set the mixture aside to cool.

  • Once completely cooled, top panna cottas with the strawberry mixture. Chill until ready to serve.

Strawberry Panna Cotta

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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