We have two very old Bramley apple trees in our garden, which every autumn produce a mass of fruits that inevitably fall from the tree faster than we can harvest them. Clearing them up is a messy business but I console myself that whilst ever they lie rotting on the ground our resident squirrels, hedgehogs, birds, bugs and other critters in nature make good use of them, and when completely decomposed, they act as an organic fertiliser for the soil and plants close by.
This year I was determined to pick some of the most perfect specimens straight off the tree ready for us to eat. A good idea, except for the fact It’s taken me a month to decide what to do with them, let alone find the time for baking. In the interim, they stored well in the dark of our cellar, just waiting for my ‘eureka' moment and their transformation into delicious Apple Pie Muffins.
Aside from the fact that apple pie is an iconic English dessert and the Bramley's Seedling tree grew from pips planted in 1809 by Mary Ann Brailsford in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, which is just 4 miles up the road from where I live, the idea to create a quick, simple-to-bake muffin that tastes just like regular apple pie was prompted by Steenbergs, who sell an organic ‘apple pie’ spice mix, which I recently purchased from them along with some other Christmassy-inspired goodies.
I think it’s safe to say that all human beings are hard-wired to love the taste of sweetness and psychologically one of the hardest things to do when trying to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle is to try and resist sweet treats and delicious desserts. As Adam and Eve discovered to their cost, the more a ‘fruit is forbidden’, the greater compulsion humans have to eat it, which is why most diets fail long-term. But what if you can satisfy your sweet tooth without ever jeopardising your health and weight loss goals? The longer I practice the art of food alchemy, converting little known ingredients into luscious, low-carb, sweet treats that you can’t differentiate from the traditional sugar and grain offerings that are making so many of us fat and sick, the more it seems my life’s purpose is to deliver the message: ‘You can!’
The trick is to combine minimal amounts of natural sweeteners like monk fruit powder (otherwise known as Lo Han Guo) and good-for-your-gut yacon syrup with naturally sweet, prebiotic tiger nut flour and ground almonds and…Bob’s your uncle. These healthy, nutrient-dense, Apple Pie Muffins hit the sweet spot between a whole food that’s as unprocessed and close to the earth as possible and the unadulterated pleasure of sugar and spice and all things nice that feels like a big hug. Never mind “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, two Apple Pie Muffins taken by mouth daily as needed, have about a third of the carbs you’d get from eating a medium apple!
Apple Pie Muffins taste so good and monk fruit powder allows us to enjoy this delicious taste whilst keeping us safe from sugar’s harm. Totally compatible with a keto-lifestyle, these appley muffins incentivised us for the first time in 27 years to rush out and collect the rest of our precious Bramleys before the slugs got to them. With a big box full of usable fruits ostensibly stashed away for the winter months, I doubt that they’ll see December out.
Apple Pie Muffins (makes 12)
100g extra fine organic tiger nut flour (see Note below)
1½ tsp gluten free baking powder
2 tsp organic apple pie spice
½ heaped teaspoon pure monk fruit powder (see Note below)
2 large organic free-range eggs
125 ml organic whole milk
1 tbsp organic yacon syrup
2 large organic Bramley apples, peeled, cored & cut into very small pieces (you should end up with about 325g of chopped apple)
Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4 and line a 12 x hole muffin tin with paper cases.
Mix the tiger nut flour, ground almonds, apple pie spice and monk fruit powder together in a large mixing bowl.
Melt the butter over a gentle heat together with the yacon syrup. Set aside to cool a little.
In a separate beat the eggs and milk, then add the melted butter and yacon syrup and mix together well.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just enough to combine, do not over mix.
Add the apple pieces, and gently mix them through.
Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cases (see Notes below).
Place the tray in the pre-heated oven and bake for 25 minutes until well risen and golden (they smell divine!).
Cool on a wire rack and then store in an airtight tin.
Although considerably more expensive, Navi Organics extra fine (premium grade) tiger nut flour is the very best for baking superb cakes and muffins etc. You can buy regular ground organic tiger nut flour for a lot less money and then grind it down yourself to a finer consistency in a coffee-nut grinder. However, the finished muffins, whilst unarguably delicious, may for foodie purists like me, still have a slightly annoying crunch to them!
Whenever I bake muffins, bread rolls, biscuits etc., I find it helpful to weigh the uncooked mixture prior to dividing it between the number of portions I wish to make. For example, the amount of raw batter I had to make 12 muffins weighed a total of 925 grams, i.e. 77 grams per muffin. Measuring equal amounts of mixture into the muffin cases ensures they all rise evenly and no one gets short-changed!
These muffins freeze well.
Fat 8g Protein 6g Carbohydrate 4g - per muffin