I love the aromas of autumn, and coming from Clonmel, the home of Irish cider, means that the smell of apple is one of the most evocative smells for me. When the apples were brought in from the orchards and piled in huge mountains in the apple yards that aroma that hung over the town on a dark cloudy evening was something so special that the merest whiff of apple takes me back to 'the Narrow Street' behind the Friary in an instant.
I nearly always use pecans for this topping they go so nicely with the cinnamon and apple, but walnuts or hazelnuts work well also…
'Apple Pie' Muffins
For the topping
2oz of nuts, chopped coarsely
2oz light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
handful of the chopped apple, see below
two tablespoons of icing sugar
For the muffin batter
14oz of plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
4oz of butter softened
6 oz soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
9oz finished weight of brambly apples, peeled, cored and chopped
200ml sour cream
25 ml regular milk
1 egg beaten
Liberally butter a 12-hole muffin tin and preheat the oven to 180C.
Make the topping by putting your chopped 'Bramleys', about one quarter of the finished flesh, in a bowl with the cinnamon, nuts and sugar and set aside.
Make the dry mixture, putting the flour, and baking powder into a bowl, and rub in the softened butter. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon and lastly the remaining apple flesh.
Make the wet mixture, mixing the sour cream, milk and egg together.
Add the wet to the dry mix, stir well to combine - being careful not to over mix. Spoon the batter into the buttered muffin tin and sprinkle the topping generously over each one. Bake for 25 mins, leave to cool slightly in the tin before removing to a wire rack. Dissolve your icing sugar with a little drop of water and drizzle over the top when completely cool. If I am to be honest here, I must admit that I only ever drizzle eight muffins with icing as 4 are always devoured hot from the oven.