Muffins with jams from Mary Poppins’ town
On a recent trip to Australia, we drove to the town of Bowral, about an hour from Sydney. What a pleasant surprise.
Located in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Bowral is a serene town of gardens, vineyards and stately homes.
Every spring, the town hosts a floral festival in the famous Corbett Gardens to celebrate the season’s harvest of tulips and other flowers.
P. L. Travers, the author of the much-loved book “Mary Poppins,” once lived in Bowral.
Walking along the main street lined with boutiques, book stores and antique shops, I came upon a store selling jams and marmalades. This was another pleasant surprise.
Made by Alpine Berry Farm, the jams were among the best I’ve tasted—fruity, fluid, with a tempered sweetness.
Prepared without artificial colors and preservatives, the jams contain 43 percent fruit, with the other ingredients being only sugar, pectin and citric acid (no extenders).
Naturally I bought several bottles (and had a difficult time fitting them into my suitcase when it was time to pack up and return home).
I’ve since been having the blueberry and strawberry jams for breakfast. They’re excellent spread on warm, buttered toast and on crackers, or drizzled on pancakes.
I’ve also tried using the jams for dessert by mixing a few tablespoons with whipped or heavy cream, then chilling the mixture in the refrigerator for a few hours.
The other day, I came across a recipe for strawberry jam muffins at the back of a package of Maya all-purpose flour. The recipe looked doable and was exactly what I was looking for to make the most use of the Alpine Berry strawberry jam from Australia.
The muffins turned out moist, with a light rosy color, implying the presence of strawberries. They were also not too sweet and would go great served with coffee or tea.
You can order Alpine Berry jams online through its website (www.alpineberryfarm.com.au), or if you’re lucky enough to have relatives living in Australia, ask them to buy you a bottle or two of this luscious jam. The website has a list of stores in Australia which sell their jams.
Otherwise, just buy the best brand of fruit jam or preserves you can find in the market.
Here’s the recipe for Maya’s strawberry jam muffins.
Strawberry jam muffins
2 c Maya all-
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ c butter, softened
½ c sugar
2 eggs, beaten
½ c milk
1 c strawberry jam or strawberry preserves
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177º to 180ºC). Line two 12-hole muffin pans with paper liners. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, cinnamon and baking soda. Set aside. In a large bowl of electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat to incorporate. Stir in the flour mixture. Pour in the milk and blend well. Remove the bowl from the electric mixer and fold in the strawberry jam/preserves, using a wide spatula.
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each paper liner about ½ to 2/3 full (don’t fill till the top). Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
Makes 20 to 24 muffins. If desired, garnish with fresh strawberries on top.
You can serve the muffins with butter or cheese.
Or top the muffins with more strawberry jam for added sweetness and flavor.
Another suggested topping for the muffins: dollops of whipped cream.
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