Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Apple and Ginger Muffins

Galen was a prominent Roman physician and philosopher who lived in the 2nd century CE.  He was the son of a wealthy architect and pursued scholarly interests, making him the preeminent medical researcher of his time. He traveled extensively in his younger days and when he finally settled in Rome, he worked as a private physician for several of the emperors.  This recipe comes from his book On the Powers of Foods, Book 2, where he served these muffins (originally quince, not apples) for those suffering from a loss of appetite.

The oven was set to 400 and I used muffin liners instead of greasing a muffin pan.  I combined flour, brown sugar, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, salt and ground white pepper in a large bowl.  In another bowl, I mixed the honey, egg, oil and apple juice concentrate.  I added the liquid into the dry ingredients and mixed in my Kitchenaid until just combined.  Then I stirred in the grated apple.  I used a tart green, granny smith apple since I wasn't sure where I could find quince locally.  I divided the batter among the 12 muffin cups and baked for about 25 minutes, until the cake tester came out clean. 

These made pretty large muffins, and I had no idea what to expect from the tartness of the apple with the ginger and pepper.  I tried one as they came out of the oven and while they smelled really good, the flavors were pretty strong, especially combined all together. 

I tried them again the next morning, after they rested overnight and they were much, much better.  The flavors blended together beautifully, the grated apples gave them a nice texture and the muffins had a nice balance between the ginger and the apples.  Again, a pleasant surprise with some very strange ingredients.

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