Pistachio and Date Muffins

I don't know why I thought of pistachio muffins the day I was sitting by the Ugandan equator in March 2008. At this cafe they sell what surely must be the world's largest muffins...they are probably baked in flower pots! Anyways...I was sitting outside, watching the dusty old cars go by. I looked at the giant muffins (which were light brown in colour) and then I looked over the brown, dusty road which had a lot of traffic. One of the pick ups was fully loaded with Matoke bananas (cooking bananas) which are used a lot in Ugandan cooking. Suddenly I had this strange thought:....I must make pistachio muffins when I get back home. Why did I think of this? I have no idea, other than the colour combination which might have influenced this wish because dates are brown like the muddy roads, and pistachios are green like the Matoke bananas. So.....this is a recipe inspired by the colours of Uganda!


These muffins remind me so much of Uganda

This recipe is:

  • Lactose (dairy) free

Pistachio and Date Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 60 grams (2 oz) pistachio nuts (unsalted), chopped fairly finely
  • 50 grams (1¾ oz) pitted dates, chopped finely
  • 300 grams (11 oz) spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons aluminium free and gluten free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt (Himalaya or sea salt)
  • 100 grams (3½ oz) rolled oats
  • 100 grams (3½ oz) Rapadura (or other raw cane sugar)
  • 195 millilitres (6¾ fluid oz) apple sauce (without added sugar)
  • 150 millilitres (5¼ fluid oz) soy milk
  • 1 free (please use range eggs)
  • 1 egg white (please use free range eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar

Preparation

  1. Chop the 50 grams pitted dates finely.
  2. Chop the 60 grams pistachio nuts fairly finely.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the 300 grams spelt flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. Also add the 100 grams rolled oats.
  4. In a separate, medium bowl combine the 1 egg white and 1 egg, 195 millilitres apple sauce, 150 millilitres soy milk, 100 grams raw cane sugar, 1 tablespoon agave nectar, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, the pistachios and the dates. Mix well.
  5. With a large wooden spoon, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Do this swiftly and do not stir, only fold approximately 8-10 times.
  6. The batter will look fairly ugly but this is fine since it will ensure that the muffins will be light.
  7. Add more soy milk if needed.
  8. Lightly grease the silicon muffin pan with a few drops coconut oil and fill each cup two thirds to the rim.
  9. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius/400 Fahrenheit/Gas Mark 6, for 25-30 minutes.
  10. Remove the muffins from the oven and cool in the tins for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely if using a silicon muffins pan as the muffins will be easier to remove.

Tips

  • You can use maple syrup instead of the agave nectar.
  • You can use almond milk, rice milk, oat milk and semi-skimmed milk instead of the soy milk.        
  • If the coconut oil is cold (in which case it becomes solid), place the jar in a bowl filled with hot water for a couple of minutes.
  • You can use whole wheat flour instead of the spelt flour.
  • You can use regular baking powder instead of the aluminium and gluten free one.
  • You can use organic baby food instead of the apple sauce. Use baby food with apples, apricots, pineapples, bananas or pears. Just make sure they are without added sugar.
  • The easiest method for dividing eggs into egg yolks and whites is to crack the egg so that the yolk sits in one side of the shell. Then pour the yolk into your other hand, cradling the yolk in your fingers. The white should run safely away from the yolk. This might require some practise. It usually takes around 4-5 seconds for the whites to fully drip into the bowl. You can freeze the yolks for later use.
  • The muffins freeze well.