Monday, 11 July 2016

Bilberry & Spelt Muffins

 These easy to make muffins make great use of foraged fruit.  The bilberries, similar in appearance to blueberries, are generously packed into the bake bringing a wonderful aroma and flavour.

These Bilberry and Spelt Muffins were made with foraged fruit.

When Mr E and I have some spare time we often go for a walk in the Yorkshire countryside. Up hill and down dale as they say.  Last weekend saw us at one of our local nature reserves walking through the woodland waiting for a shower to pass.  The woods were quiet, as is expected at this time of year, as the songbirds are recovering from the enormous effort of raising their brood.  Just a few short minutes into our walk a bird made its presence known, and not through the beauty of its song.  The bird decided to, well, visit the bathroom at the precise moment that we walked beneath the tree where it stood.  Wearing no hat Mr E had been well and truly got!  And needless to say he wan't too pleased about it!

Despite Mr E not being too happy about the 'incident' it is said to bring good luck.  Perhaps he should purchase a lottery ticket for the next draw ;-)  Or maybe the good luck was stumbling across the heavily ladened bilberry bushes we found later in our walk.



Bilberry and Spelt Muffin recipe

Many of the bilberry fruits had yet to ripen but there were plenty which were ready to be picked.  So retrieving a small empty paper bag, which had earlier held bird seed from feeding the mallards, from my pocket I picked what I could.  

As a child Mum, Grandma and I would often find ourselves on the hills above our family home picking bilberries at this time of year.  They're such a treat.  Not only because they need to be foraged for (as it's very unlikely that you'd find them in supermarkets and greengrocers here in the UK)  but because they taste amazing.  Really amazing!  Although bilberries (which are also known as blaeberries, whartleberry, winberry, wimberry, and mytle blueberry) look like a mini version of bluberries, they, in my humble opinion, are far tastier than their larger cousin.   Wikipedia tells us all about the bilberry, and have a look here for the nutrition of the bilberry.

Bilberry and Spelt Muffin recipe made with foreaged fruit.

Last year we made a Bilberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake with our foraged fruit.  This time though, we decided to rustle up something a lot easier and opted to make a few muffins.  These Bilberry and Spelt Muffins are jam packed with delicious fruit and are topped with a little spiced sugar.    Having some spelt flour which had been languishing in the cupboard, I decided to replace the usual plain flour in favour of this tastier version, but of course plain flour would work equally well in these muffins.

Bilberry and Spelt Muffin recipe made with foreaged fruit, but they can be substituted for blueberries

Many bakers comment that their fruits sink to the bottom of their sponge during a bake, but these little bilberries found their way to tho top (I've no idea why).  To be honest I quite like seeing their purple noses poking their way though the Bilberry & Spelt Muffin crust, teasing us with the tasty delights to be enjoyed.

Bilberry and Spelt Muffin recipe made with foreaged fruit, but they can be substituted with blueberries

I really wish I could have captured the aroma when the Bilberry & Spelt Muffins emerged from the oven.  They smelt good.  Really good!  It took me all of my will power not to eat them before I'd captured the images I wanted.  And yes, I definitely needed an image of a Bilberry & Spelt Muffin with a bite taken out of it ;-)

An easy recipe which makes great use of the bilberries.  The fruit can also be replaced with blueberries



Please only forage for food stuff when you are 100% sure of what you are gathering.


 

So, let's get to it and bake!

 

Bilberry & Spelt Muffins     Yum

How to make bilberry and spelt muffins

Yield: 6 Muffins
Serves: 6
Difficulty: Easy 
Time: hands on time about 10 minutes; plus 20 - 25 minutes bake time; cooling time. 
Freezable: Yes 
Storage: Airtight container for 2 or 3 days.


You will need:

Baking Tray, with sides
6 Muffin cases (or large cupcake cases)
Muffin Pan
1 x medium mixing Bowl
Sieve
Spatula or large Metal Spoon

 

For the Bilberry & Spelt Muffins

110g White Spelt Flour (or plain flour)
1 tsp Baking Powder
Pinch salt
65g Caster Sugar, plus 1/2 tbsp extra to sprinkle
1/2 tsp Mixed Spice, plus pinch extra to sprinkle
30g Unsalted Butter, melted
1 large Egg, beaten
85g Milk
100g Bilberries (or bluberries)



How to make them:

1.  Prepare the bilberries.  Gently wash the bilberries, removing any leaves, stems or spoilt fruit. Dry them gently with kitchen roll.  Put them into a sided baking tray.  Distribute the berries to make a single layer.  Place the tray in the freezer for 10 - 15 minutes.

2.  Pre-heat the oven to 200c / Fan 180c / Gas 6.   Place the paper muffin cases into the hollows of the muffin pan.

3.  Prepare the spiced sugar.  Place the half tablespoon of sugar and pinch of mixed spice into a small bowl and mix together.  Set aside.

4.  Mix together the dry ingredients.  Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and mixed spice into a medium sized bowl. 

5.  Mix together the wet ingredients.   Break the egg into a pyrex jug, or similar, and lightly beat.  Add the milk and melted butter.  Mix together. 

6.  Combine the wet with the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the flour.  Pour the wet mixture into the well.  Use a spatula or large metal spoon to gently combine, avoid over mixing.

7.  Add the bilberries.  Remove the frozen berries from the freezer.  Tip them into the batter and gently mix to combine.

8.  Fill the muffin cases.  Spoon the batter into the muffin cases, aiming to divide the berries equally amongst each muffin case.  Each case needs to be no more than two-thirds full.  Use a teaspoon to generously sprinkle the spiced sugar over the top of the raw muffin mixture.

9.  Bake.  Place the muffin tin into the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.   You may need to rotate the tray after 18 minutes of baking.  The muffins will be ready when thay are well risen, golden brown and an inserted skewer (or tooth pick) comes out clean.

10.  Cool.  Once the muffins are baked remove them from the oven.   Remove them from the muffin pan and place onto a cooling tray to cool.




Enjoy either slightly warm or cold.


Notes:

a)  Freezing the bilberries for a few minutes helps to prevent the berries from being spoilt and damaged whilst being mixed.
b) If you are unable to obtain bilberries, substitute them for bluberries, either fresh or fozen. Though if using fresh do freeze them for a few minutes before incorporating them into the batter.





 

 

 

 

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These Bilberry & Spelt Muffins make great use of foraged fruit.  The bilberries, similar to blueberries, bring a wonderful taste and aroma to this easy bake




This post has been shared with: 

Simple & In Season hosted by Katie over at Feeding Boys

Treat Petit co-hosted by Kat at The Baking Explorer and Stu at Cakeyboi
CookBlogShare Link up your recipe of the week Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com





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31 comments:

  1. Your muffins look delicious Angela and I wish I could happen upon some laden bilberry bushes!!

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha, I have to admit Lucy we have loads of bilberry bushes fairly local to where we live....the trick seems to be going to locations where sheep don't have access to them as the sheep seem to be as partial to them as we are ;-)
      Thanks for your lovely comment Lucy,
      Angela x

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  2. I have never seen bilberry bushes, we have plenty of blackberries though. I do have blackcurrants in the garden and I think they would work as well. Your muffins look lovely

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    1. Ooh yeah, I bet blackcurrants would be fantastic in them Alison. The bilberry bush grows on acidic soil, I sometimes find them amongst the heather (though not exclusively there). You'll have to have a trip down to Yorkshire and I'll point in the right direction Alison :-)
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  3. They look gorgeous and lovely and sticky on the top with all those bilberries poking through! I wish I had some growing near me!

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    1. The top of them were fantastic Corina, the fruit having turned almost jam like - so good :-) I'm feeling sad for all you food bloggers who don't have any bilberry bushes local to you. Perhaps I should start a mail order service ;-)
      Thanks for your lovely comment Corina,
      Angela x

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  4. Oh yes, I definitely think you really did NEED a picture with a bite taken out of it. I trust you did various versions of this shot...with smaller and larger bites and different angles? ;-) It's very tough work this food styling business. These sound absolutely amazing. I love the idea of using spelt flour to make them a little healthier...and tastier. And I love the sound of bilberries - not sure I've ever had them. I'm sure there ought to be some near where I live...we live pretty rurally...will have to keep my eyes out for them on my off road runs! Eb x

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    1. Hahaha, something like that Eb, infact I almost ran out of the muffins when I was taking bite shots because they were sooo good ;-) The spelt certainly did make them seem more healthy - even if it was just a phychological response. Ooh yes, definitely do keep an eye out for the bilberries Eb, they're amazing. The bushes grow on acidic soil and are low growing (so it can be back breaking work sometimes) - but thankfully the ones I picked for these muffins were on a steep sided slope so I was fortunate enough not to have to stoop to harvest them. I wish Royal Mail allowed food to be sent through the post so I could parcel some up for you et al because they really are tastier than blueberries.
      Thanks for your lovely comment Eb,
      Angela x

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  5. what wonderful use of some free berries! the top of the muffins look like a brulee - yum x

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    Replies
    1. They do look a little brulee like with the sugar having caramelised a bit. I love foraging for free berries Jenny, though I only pick what I'm confident about. There's so many other things I'd like to try but I don't want to risk making Mr E & myself poorly. I'm aiming to harvest some more bilberries and then I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for ripening blackberries.
      Thanks for popping by Jenny,
      Angela x

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  6. i am wanting to use spelt flour more so i am on the lookout for spelt recipes. These look gorgeous! x

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Rebecca. I really should use spelt more often, it's such a great flour.
      Thanks for popping by,
      Angela x

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  7. Oh Angela - you're making my mouth water again with your gorgeous bakes. Pretty sure there's no bilberries growing near me but hopefully I'll get to try them one day! #CookBlogShare

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    1. Haha, you're too kind Mandy :-) It really does sound like I should open a bilberry mail order service given that so many people haven't been able to try nilberries ;-)
      Thanks for popping by Mandy,
      Angela x

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  8. Ooo I've never heard of bilberries before, but I'm a huge blueberry fan so I reckon I'd love them! The muffins look fab! Treat Petite is anything goes this month if you fancy linking up :) http://www.thebakingexplorer.com/2016/07/treat-petite-july.html

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    Replies
    1. Bilberries are great Kat and I'd imagine you should find some around the Manchester area (we've just driven through Denshaw into Oldham today and saw a few areas containing bilberries), though despite looking like blueberries they do taste different - far nicer in my opinion :-)
      Thank you for the invite, I've just popped over and linked up :-)
      Angela x

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    2. I'll have to up my foraging skills! Thank you for linking up with Treat Petite!

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    3. You're welcome, thankyou for hosting :-)

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  9. I love spelt flour but I've never tried it plain, these look incredible! I can't wait to make them! Thanks for linking up for #TastyTuesdays x

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    1. Spelt flour is great isn't it Vicki, though for some reason I don't seem to use it as often as I should.
      Thanks for popping by Vicki,
      Angela x

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  10. I LOVE spelt flour Angela, I love it's nutty taste and texture and often use in bread making! BUT, I may use it in muffins now too, having seen your glorious little bilberry muffins, and a BIG hoorah for bilberries too! This is such a GREAT recipe......thanks for sharing it and I may be making something similar soon! Karen

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    1. Ooh I'll second that hurrah Karen, bilberries are an amazing fruit, and I'm really looking forward to gathering a few tuperware boxes together and picking some more - this time enough for a pie I hope :-) Thank you for your lovely comment Karen, I'm looking forward to seeing what you rustle up.
      Angela x

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  11. Oh wow, yes please! I am loving the muffin recipes! We don't have bilberries in the garden but do have blackcurrants which I imagine would work well. Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

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    1. I definately think blackvurrants would work well in these muffins Kirsty.
      Thanks for popping by, and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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  12. These muffins look delicious and nutritious too, I've never cooked with bilberries, probably never even ate them either

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Monika. Bilberries are just brilliant, it's one of those fruits which we are fortunate enough to be able to forage for local to where we live. It seems that a lot of food bloggers havn't come across them either. Perhaps we should all have a meet up in Yorkshire ;-)
      Thanks for popping by,
      Angela x

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  13. These muffins look delicious and nutritious too, I've never cooked with bilberries, probably never even ate them either

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  14. They look delicious and so gorgeous - as for the incident, I can only think, holy crap, if you excuse the language :-) And it does seem it was lucky because then you found bilberries - love all the alternative names for them - never seen them here in Melbourne

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha, it certainly was lucky Joanna and lucky that we had something to collect them in too :-) As far as I understand the bilberries grow in the northern hemisphere, but I may well be wrong.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  15. This has made me immediately want to go for a forage for some bilberries... i've never come across them before and wonder if we get them up here in the North East? Your photos are stunning and make we want to dive right into those yummy cakes... thanks so much for hooking up with this month's Simple and in Season :-)

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    Replies
    1. I'd definitely think you should find them in the North East Katie. We're in West Yorkshire, and I know that they grow well not only where we are but also in North Yorkshire and up into Scotland too. They grow on acidic soil (so likely to be found where there is heather), the bush is low growing which sadly makes it back-breaking work, so I try to forage from bushes which are growing on a slope so that I'm not stooping as much.
      Thank you for your kind comments Katie, my images are improving but still have a long way to go. You're welcome too, but thank you back to you for hosting,
      Angela x

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