Monday, April 11, 2011

Rasperry Crumble {Suck-Up} Muffins

Bakers and good neighbors everywhere tout the pie and the muffin as the ultimate shareable-baked-good. We make pies to share. We make muffins to give away. What are we really doing? Sucking up. That's right. Either after the fact, or as a preventative suck-up measure, we bake our way into people's good graces. And that's exactly what I found myself doing yesterday morning.

We live in a small block of flats which is cooperatively owned in what I can only describe as a condo-cum-dormitory manner. Any changes must be approved, and whoever is in charge is constantly monitoring the hallways. The 'whoever' in charge is usually some elderly couple. I don't know why. Maybe it's the time availability, or seniority. We are just renters, so understanding this Czech apartment system falls well beyond my priorities.

After six months of smiling and 'dobry denning'* the head woman (who, living in a once-matriarchal society, still has the final word in any apartment going-ons) any suspicion she'd initially held about the American wife has mostly disappeared. Her gruff husband however ignores me and gives my hubs a mildly hard time.

Then, we got a puppy. The most adorable puppy on the planet, that is. 

Our nearly-three-month Shiba Inu easily won over the house woman. This has not been the case with her companion. He announced just last week that the yard in NOT a place for dogs, as he's already stepped in poo. Meekly holding up our plastic baggies in defence did nothing.

So I declared Operation Muffin.

The hubs proclaimed these the best muffins I've made yet. I chalk that hefty comment up to the crumble topping. Who doesn't love extra butter and vanilla sugar?
And, I have to say, they might have worked. Unbeknown to us the woman was gone all morning, so when we brought them up Mr. Grumbly Gus opened the door (straight from a nap on the couch, I must say) and looked shocked, and then excited to see a plate of muffins before him. Hours later his better half brought the plate back and we graciously 'dobry denned'* each other.

We'll see if there's any difference next time we run into them when Saffi (Saffron) is doing her usual cute as all get-out bouncy romps in the backyard.
* Dobry Denning is a term I use to describe the custom in the Czech Republic where people constantly greet one another with the words "dobrý den" (good day.) This includes the obvious neighbors and vague acquantainces, but also every shop assistant, inhabitant of a large apartment building, some offices, and other assorted situations that are slightly surprising to this American.

Continue to Recipe...

Raspberry Crumble Muffins
Adapted from Marks and Spencer Easy Muffins
Serves 12 muffins Time 60 min
Eat with a suck-up smile

Crumble topping:
2.5 Tb (35g) frozen butter 
2 Tb (25g) vanilla sugar
6 Tb (50g) flour

2 1/4 cups (280g) flour
1 Tb baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1/2 cup (115g) sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
9 oz (250g) plain yogurt
7 Tb (100g) butter
7 oz (200g) frozen raspberries (keep in the freezer until just ready to use)
1) Get the crumble topping prepped. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and sugar. Chop up the butter into small cubes, add into the bowl, and use two opposing butter knives to slice and dice those cubes up via pastry crust style until the mix resembles a fairly coarse blend.

2) Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C and melt the butter (so that it's cooled when you are ready to use it.) Brush the muffin tin with some of that melted butter.

3) In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. 

4) In another bowl whisk the eggs and then add vanilla, yogurt and the cooled melted butter (can be a little warm, but not hot.) Make a little well in the middle of the dry flour mix and pour in the wet mix. Stir with a big wooden spoon until just combined. Get your berries out and gently fold in the mix (careful, or they'll bleed throughout the entire batter giving you pink muffins - unless you want that of course.)

5) Using a half-cup measuring cup, plop some in each muffin form. Finally, sprinkle a good amount of crumble over each and use the back of a spoon to press the crumble down slightly.

6) Bake for 20 minutes.

Dobrou Chut'/ Enjoy.
-- Jo


  1. okay, the muffins look amazing and your puppy might be the cutest little buddy ever!

  2. Thanks Amy for commenting! I agree 100% that I've snagged a darned cute cooking buddy!

  3. Lol. You're absolutely right! Really cute blog btw.

  4. All the food on your blog looks so hearty and delicious! I can't wait to try out some recipes! :)

  5. Hi Josie! I stumbled upon your blog via Maison Cupcakes when I was admiring recipes from Forever Nigella Italian round up. Your squid ink pasta definitely attracted my attention.
    Being originally from the Czech Republic, your neighbour story made me laugh. It's so typical! :) I'm quite curious if your sweet gesture will have any effects on your neighbours. The muffins look scrumptious. And your puppy is too cute!
    I can't wait to read more posts to see my home country through your eyes and taste buds! :)

  6. Sari, hi! How great that you came across my blog, you being Czech and all. I'm so relieved you called my neighbour situation 'typical.' I sometimes fear I'm being a bad foreigner and not integrating very you give me hope!

    I took a peek at your blog and can see the Czech influence - baked Camembert at the pub, you miss pickled Hemerlín at the hospoda? :)

  7. Hey, I think you definitely shouldn't feel as a bad foreigner at all! It can be quite tricky to get on with some czech people. :) I hope your neighbours loved your muffins!
    Although I sometime miss some czech "delicacies", it's easy to forget about czech food with all amazing ingredients and international cuisines available in London. However, I love going to a pub for a pint of dark Kozel and pickled Romadur or Hermelin when I visit Prague. :)


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