Ohhh, the romance of fall. It's a delicious limbo time of the year for me. I lament that summer is over and can’t yet bear to think of winter, so fall is the perfect time of year for me to really embrace living in the moment. I am enchanted by the beauty of the turning leaves and inspired by the bounty of gorgeous local produce at the farmer's markets, roadside stands and the local section of the supermarket. I love using root vegetables and winter squashes in ways that are different from what’s on my plate the rest of the year. These pumpkin muffins are a delicious, and slightly decadent, way to enjoy a vegetable that the whole family will embrace. They are moist, redolent of spice and the buttery-brown sugary topping makes them irresistible…even to the most sincere veggie hater.
These happen to be egg-free, so if there are allergies in your group of family or friends, they can savour them, too!
Egg-free Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
For the streusel topping:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, out of the fridge 10 minutes or so, just to take the chill off - you want it holding its shape, but not cold and not melted. Judge according to the temperature of your kitchen. Cut into one-inch cubes.
For the muffins:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup kamut flour (or whole wheat or other whole grain flour)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 cup pure pumpkin purée (use my recipe, or use canned - but do not use pumpkin pie filling that has sugar and other ingredients added)
1/2 cup veg oil
1 cup (total) nuts, pumpkin seeds (optional)
Make the streusel topping: If using a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until it starts to clump together in random-sized clumps from pea to dime sizes. Spread this on a parchment-lined pan and chill in the fridge while you get the muffins ready. If doing by hand, cut butter into flour-cinnamon mixture with a fork or pastry blender. Set aside.
Make the muffins: Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together dry ingredients (except nuts and seeds) in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine wet and dry. Do not beat - mix with a spoon until just incorporated. If using, fold in nuts and seeds last. Spoon into 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°F. Remove from oven to sprinkle streusel topping generously on top of muffins, then return to oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the muffins comes out clean.
Andrea Maunder, locovore, wine expert and pastry chef, is the owner and creative force behind Bacalao, a St. John's restaurant specializing in "nouvelle Newfoundland" cuisine. She writes a monthly column, "Everyday Gourmet," for Downhome.