I’m baking more and more with my littlies these days which is wonderful. At the ages of 2 and 4 they really enjoy getting involved at all stages. Every wednesday, as there’s no school on Wednesdays here in France, we bake at least one thing together, usually some sort of muffin, cake or biscuit. They love doing all the stirring, whisking, dolloping, sprinkling, decorating. Then obviously the scoffing.
We’ve made these muffins many a Wednesday baking session lately and I’ve only just realised they’ve yet to be blogged. So easy peasy to make, especially for little hands that like to do stirring, and pretty healthy to boot with all that deliciously sweet roasted pumpkin and red onion. I’m sure they must count as at least one of your five a day? If you or your kids are cheese fiends (like all of us!) then savoury muffins are the way to go, great for snacks, lunches and lunch boxes, picnics and even tea time treats. Fresh out of the oven is best, but they still hold their own cold.
Unusually for me I made large muffins this time round, I usually prefer to make smaller mini sized ones in fairy cake cases. It’s up to you. As for the cheese, I used about half Cheddar and half Parmesan in this batch but you could use all Cheddar or all Parmesan equally as successfully. You can happily substitute the pumpkin for butternut.
Pumpkin, Cheese & Red Onion Muffins
Makes 12 large muffins or 24 small mini-muffins
500g of pumpkin or butternut squash, skin and seeds removed
a large red onion
a tablespoon of sunflower oil
275g of plain flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
½ a teaspoon of English mustard powder
salt & pepper
2 free range medium sized eggs
200ml of milk
100g of grated Mature Cheddar or Parmesan or a mixture of the two
Special Equipment: Cake or Muffin Trays, Cake or Muffin Cases
Preheat your oven to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6.
Start with roasting off your pumpkin. Cut into large chunks and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes until pretty soft and cooked through, turning once or twice during the cooking time. Once roasted place in a bowl and mash with a potato masher. Set aside cool a little. This part could always been done before when you happen to be using the oven for something else. Over the pumpkin season I tend to always have some pre-roasted pumpkin in the fridge to be used in cakes, muffins, pasta dishes or soups.
While the pumpkin’s roasting, finely slice the red onion. Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion for 10 to 15 minutes until softened.
Sift the flour, baking powder and mustard powder into a large bowl. Stir in a pinch of salt and pepper.
Melt the butter and allow to cool a little. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, then whisk or stir in the milk. Once the butter’s cooled a little whisk into the eggs and milk.
Attention littlies, lots of stirring action now required!. Throw the wet mixture into the dry and stir, stir, stir. Once combined chuck in the roasted and mashed pumpkin, red onion and ⅔ of the cheese.
Dollop the mixture into cake or muffin cases in cake or muffin trays. It’s about a dessertspoon of the raw mixture for a fairy cake sized mini-muffin or a heaped tablespoon for a large muffin. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tops.
Bake in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes for mini-muffins or 40 to 50 minutes for normal full sized. They’re ready when they’re golden on the top, firm to touch and an inserted cake skewer or fork comes out crumb free.
Remove from the trays and cool on a cooling rack. Particularly lovely eaten warm, and if you want to be exceptionally naughty, ahem, break in half and smear in butter.
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