Gluten Free Almond Muffins with Morello Cherry Sauce

Morello cherries and Morello cherry sauce add distinct tart taste to deserts and give a simple sweet almond muffin quite a sophisticated flavour.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 10 g vanilla sugar
  • 200 g cottage cheese (as dry as possible)
  • 100 g almond meal
  • 25 g fine rice flour
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 table spoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean extract
  • 1 tea spoon gluten free baking powder
  • icing sugar for dusting
  • half a cup of preserved pitted Morello cherries (look for the sugar content on the label, not more than 14g of sugar per 100g)
  • extra sugar 30-40g, for making Morello cherry sauce (quantity depends on the volume of liquid available from the jar)

Preparation:

Morello cherry sauce

  • drain and measure all liquid from pitted Morello Cherries jar in a sauce pan
  • add sugar – 10g to every 100ml of the liquid
  • dissolve sugar and cook the sauce on low heat until half of the liquid is left

Add less sugar if cherries are preserved in a syrup with higher sugar content. I often combine the contents of several jars and make Morello cherry sauce for later use as ice-cream, yogurt and desert topping.

Almond muffins: makes 10 regular muffins

  • whisk egg whites until soft peaks and slowly add half of sugar (50 g) until the mixture is white and smooth with stiff peaks, put aside
  • cream egg yolks with the rest of the sugar (50g+10g vanilla sugar) until pale, put aside.
  • add lemon juice and vanilla bean extract to cottage cheese, mix together until smooth
  • add creamed egg yolks to cottage cheese, whisk together
  • mix all dry ingredients: almond meal, rice flour, lemon zest and baking powder
  • incorporate 2/3 of dry ingredients into cottage cheese mixture
  • mix in the first big spoon of egg whites to loosen the mix, add the rest of the dry ingredients, fold in the rest of egg whites
  • spoon the dough into prepared muffin cases placed in muffin baking tray
  • dry Morello cherries on paper towel
  • insert 4-5 cherries individually into muffin dough
  • bake in the preheated fan forced oven at 170 degrees (conventional oven 180-185) for 30-35 min
  • let muffins rest and cool on wire rack, dust with icing sugar

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These muffins are very nice while still warm, but they do not go dry the second day, and can be reheated if you like them warm. It is quite surprising, considering that these muffins do not have any butter or oil as an ingredient.

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They are soft and moist, but not soggy or too dense, as some almond muffins or cakes can be. The texture is always better when the dough is not over mixed. That is why I always prefer not to incorporate cherries in the dough, but to place them individually into each muffin. It takes may be extra 2-3 min, but makes all the difference to the texture.

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Serve muffins with Morello cherry sauce on top. I like the extra tart taste of the sauce, when I use half of the sugar from the recipe. You might prefer to apply this sauce on still warm muffins while on wire rack. The sauce will soak through half the muffin and it will practically become a cake. Served with vanilla ice-cream this muffin would cheer you up on any rainy day.

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