Nectarine Crumble Muffins

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If it wasn’t for muffins, I don’t think this blog would exist. Muffins got me into baking. More than that, they made me obsessed with baking.

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A simple Christmas (or was it birthday??) present of a muffin recipe book, a quick visit to John Lewis (the best department store in all the world) to pick up a couple of muffin tins and the course of my life was changed forever! Melodramatic? Moi? Never!

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Muffins are just so simple, any baking novice can make them, and I definitely was a bit dense when it came to the kitchen. They can also be super impressive and are always a popular choice, I don’t think anyone has ever refused one when I’ve taken a batch into the office.

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For a long time I baked muffins almost every weekend, ploughing my way through the book, always coming back to banana for obvious and delicious reasons. But man cannot live by muffin alone, the time came to branch out into biscuits, cake, tarts and cheesecake and the humble muffin became sorely neglected.

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So now it’s time for a revival! Given that summer fruit is still utterly fantastic right now, I thought I’d go with nectarines again. Sorry to be repetitive, following my nectarine frangipane tart, but I love, love, love them and always have them in the fridge in the summer time. So deal with it.

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These little guys are a cut above your average muffin. Supremely moist, with a crumbly top and occasional, insanely sweet, little bursts of nectarine. There is nothing here that couldn’t be described as utterly gorgeous.

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To make these muffins look as special as they taste I decided to dispense with the usual muffin wrappers, this helped give a nice, smooth, brown underside and avoid those ugly crinkled edges. A non-stick muffin pan will help with this, as will a good brush of melted butter.

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Nectarine Crumble Muffins
Adapted from Cupcakes and Muffins
Makes 12


85g melted and cooled butter (plus a little extra for greasing your tins if you’re not using paper liners)
280g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder (yes a tablespoon, don’t be scared!)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
115g caster sugar
2 eggs
250ml natural yoghurt (I used low fat greek style)
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
2 ripe nectarines, diced

Crumble topping:
50g plain flour
35g butter
2 tbsp caster sugar

Preheat your oven to 200 C / 180 C Fan / 400 F.

Start by melting the butter for the muffin batter. Once melted, if not using liners, brush a little onto the base and sides of your muffin tins and put the rest to one side to cool.

Now put all of the ingredients for the crumble topping into a bowl and rub them together with your fingertips until they resemble chunky breadcrumbs.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. I personally don’t go in for this sifting malarky but feel free to sift it if you’re that way inclined.

In another large bowl, lightly beat the eggs and then stir in the yoghurt, vanilla and cooled butter.

Make a little well in the middle of your flour mixture, poor in the liquid mix, add the nectarines and stir it together just until the flour is no longer visible and then stop! Don’t over mix, this is the secret to a nice, light muffin!

Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins, filling them up pretty much to the top. Scatter the crumble topping over each muffin and press it down lightly.

Pop the muffins into the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until they are golden brown and firmish to the touch.

Leave them to cool in the tins for 5 minutes until removing them and either tucking in while they’re still warm or leaving them on a wire rack to cool completely.


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Nectarine Frangipane Tart

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Today is another day of combining things that I love. Namely nectarines, almonds and pastry. If you could show me a better way to bring them together than a frangipane tart, I’d be extremely surprised, and I’m sure it wouldn’t make my kitchen smell quite so amazing.

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Frangipane, that beautiful almondy, spongey stuff, reminds me of home. Back in my family home the frangipane tart is the ultimate treat. Concealing apricots, plums, raspberries or gooseberries, the whole lot of us would be overjoyed with any combination.


I think my own personal obsession comes from an over consumption of marzipan in my younger years. My mum always made fabulous fruit cakes for Christmas and Easter, meaning that there was always a block of marzipan in the ingredients cupboard.

Blind bake

I loved nothing better than sitting on the kitchen floor, fashioning the marzipan into little egg shapes for the tiny, chicken cake decorations to sit on and then scoffing the lot. Frangipane feels (and tastes) like a grown up version of those stolen marzipan moments.

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Here I’ve added nectarines, in an attempt to make the most of the glorious summer fruits that are everywhere at the moment. I eat nectarines almost every day anyway, with yoghurt and oats for breakfast, but sometimes it’s nice to make them feel a little more special. This tart definitely feels like a special treat.

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In searching for recipes I found that not everyone feels the need to blind bake their pastry. For the uninitiated, blind baking means partially cooking your pastry before adding the tart filling.

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I decided to blind bake my pastry as I have a major fear of the dreaded soggy-bottom. (Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood would never stand for that sort of thing.) It did result in quite a crispy pastry case but I’m all for that.

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For the pastry element, I used a trusted Jamie Oliver sweet pastry recipe from his book Jamie’s America. This recipe has never failed me and tastes divine, whilst being open to adding other flavours like orange zest or vanilla. For a tin this size you’re also left with a little extra pastry for making the compulsory jam turnover. (At least it’s compulsory in my house!)

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One thing I would say about this recipe is that the cooking time for the frangipane will vary greatly according to your oven. Whilst the recipe I used for the filling suggested 30 minutes in the oven, I found that even after 45 minutes it wasn’t quite set. In the end it took a little over an hour, but it was definitely worth the wait. I would say, just pop a timer on for half an hour, then check it regularly after that, until the centre looks and feels set.

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Nectarine Frangipane Tart
Pastry from Jamie’s America
Frangipane from Simply Delicious


For the pastry:
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
50g icing sugar
125g cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
Splash of milk

For the filling:
150g unsalted butter at room temperature
150g caster sugar
1/2 tsp almond essence (sadly I had to use extract, but it still tasted good)
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
150g ground almonds
50g plain flour
2 nectarines, cut into thin slices

Start by making your pastry, for this I used a food processor but I’ll give you the instructions for making it by hand just in case you don’t have one.

Sieve the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and milk and work the dough together with your hands until it forms a ball. Flatten the ball slightly, cover it in floured cling film and pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, grease a 25cm loose bottomed tart tin.

On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to about half a cm thick. Roll the pastry onto your rolling pin and carefully unroll it over your tin. Ease the pastry into the tin and push it gently into the corners. Cut off the excess and prick the base all over with a fork. Now pop the tin into the freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 180 C / 160 C fan oven / 350 F.

Scrunch up a large piece of baking or greaseproof paper, unwrap it and use it to line your frozen pastry case. Fill it with rice or baking beans and put it in the oven for 10 minutes. Take the case out, remove the rice and the paper and pop it back in for a further 10 minutes. Leave the case to cool slightly whilst you make the filling.

Cream together the butter and sugar until they’re fluffy and light coloured. Add the almond essence, eggs and egg yolk and stir thoroughly until combined. The mixture may appear lumpy and split to start with, but keep going and it will eventually become nice and smooth. Finally fold in the flour and almonds.

Spread the frangipane over the pre-baked tart case, smooth it over and then arrange the nectarine slices attractively over the top.

Bake the tart for 30mins to 1hr depending on your oven, as mentioned above check it regularly until the centre is set.

Leave to cool to room temperature and then serve with ice cream or a splodge of creme fraiche, and some raspberries.

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