Rhubarb and custard muffins (with a hint of strawberry)

It’s rhubarb season and these muffins are a perfect celebration of springtime flavours. 

My auntie used to make a divine rhubarb and strawberry crumble but I’d pick out the rhubarb because it was too sour. Oh how times change. The strawberries in these are freeze dried but they’re also optional, so if you just fancy the classic rhubarb and custard combo then do not fret – this recipe is still for you! The custard is homemade, really simple and you can make it while the muffins are in the oven.

Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients

For the muffins:

  • 245g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 240ml milk
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g fresh rhubarb, chopped into small pieces
  • 50g freeze dried strawberries (don’t use fresh strawbs as this will make the mixture too wet and the muffins won’t rise as well)

For the custard:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste (or the seeds of one vanilla pod, or 1 tsp of vanilla extract)
  • 75ml milk

Method

Preheat oven to 180C (gas mark 6). Put 12 muffin cases in a muffin tray.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar. Set aside.

In a bowl, lightly whisk the eggs with a fork. Stir in the vanilla extract, milk and vegetable oil. Pour the egg mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until until moistened. Fold in the rhubarb and strawberries (if using). Don’t overmix – lumpy muffin mixture equals fluffy muffins!

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cases, filling them about 3/4 full.

Bake until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean – about 15 to 18 minutes.

While they’re baking, make the custard. Fill a small saucepan with about an inch of boiling water and put on a low heat. Place a bowl above the water (this technique is called bain marie, if you wanna get technical) and add the egg yolks, sugar and maple syrup. Whisk without stopping until the mixture starts to turn a creamy yellow colour. Add the flour. Keep whisking – if you stop, lumps will form pretty much straight away.

Carefully remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the milk. Make sure there are no lumps in the mixture before returning it to the heat. Keep whisking until it thickens to a consistency you’d be happy to serve with your crumble/pie/cake. Remove from the heat and continue whisking until the custard has cooled slightly (about 30 seconds).

Leave to cool in the tray for 2 minutes, then remove them from the pan and leave to cool completely.

Once the muffins are cool, using a chop stick, poke a hole into one side of each muffin. Spoon the custard into a piping bag and pipe into each hole until full. Serve with any leftover custard you may have (I had loads) and enjoy.

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