This is a story about “slowed down food.”
We have combined the fat-free muffin with the slow food movement, to make the Slowed Down Pumpkin Muffin. The reason that these pumpkin muffins can be called “slowed down” food is because they are meant to be made with canned pumpkin and jarred applesauce, but we had neither one in the cupboard. So, the instructions here show how you can make them using local squash and an apple, and it also takes more time to make them! The muffins still use processed sugar, so they are not consistent with full-bore “slow food” cooking.
We won’t pretend that these muffins, which have no oil in them, are non-fat because once you have slathered your pumpkin muffin with butter, all that “no fat” stuff goes out the window! We also make these gluten free, doubling the flavorings to combat the black hole, flavor-neutralizing quality of gluten free cooking. Note: Some people who eat gluten free avoid bean flours such as chickpea flour, so check with your gluten free friend before using this recipe.
How to prepare the squash (pumpkin) and apple:
Find a winter squash (pumpkin, butternut, buttercup, acorn – whatever), and a baking apple. For a baking apple, you could choose a nice big Cortland, or a Northern Spy. In this case, we used a butternut squash (long-necked pale orange squash) and a Northern Spy apple.
Cut off a chunk of winter squash, about 12 ounces should do it. Poke several holes in the apple with a fork. Microwave the squash and the apple on the setting you use for baking potatoes, until they are cooked through. Cool them so that you can peel them without burning yourself.
Peel the cooked squash and apple and remove and discard the apple core and its seeds and the peelings. Mash the cooked squash and apple separately. You need 1/3 cup of each. If by chance you have too much of one, and not enough of the other, simply use enough of each to yield a combined total of 2/3 cup mashed material.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Soak 1/2 cup raisins in boiling water while you mix the batter:
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl:
1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon Gifts of Nature gluten free All Purpose Flour Blend (INGREDIENTS: Brown rice flour, potato starch flour, white rice flour, chick pea flour, sweet rice flour, tapioca flour, xantham gum)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon each: baking powder, baking soda, salt
1 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg, ground cloves
Mix the wet ingredients in another large bowl:
Mix the 2/3 cup cooked squash and apple with:
Stir the wet ingredients and dry ingredients together using a fork. This will be an interesting task – at first it will appear that there is not enough liquid, but as you mix the batter it will quickly become the consistency of a proper muffin batter.
Drain the almost-forgotten raisins (throw out the water, save the raisins.) Add the raisins to the muffin batter. Stir well.
Line 12 muffin cups with paper muffin liners. Fill each muffin liner to the top. You may be used to filling muffin liners 2/3 full, but in this case you can fill them right to the top. Use up all the batter for the 12 muffins. Distribute the raisins evenly, to make sure each muffin has its fair share of raisins.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the tops are dry and the muffins seem done. You can poke them with a toothpick – toothpick should come out dry. Take cooked muffins out of the oven – the tops of these muffins have a chewy, caramelized quality and the muffins taste great with butter. Technically, you should allow these muffins to cool before eating.
Make sure all your ingredients are gluten free!2