Springtime is all about waking up and stretching out, getting ready for something new and fresh. Where better to pull inspiration from than your local farmers market? And who better to have along with you than new contributor Christine Chitnis, author of a local favorite, Markets of New England. Heidi Murphy was lucky enough to traverse the market side by side with Christine, but you can meet her too at a five-course dinner inspired by her book this Thursday at the Beacon Hill Bistro. Sounds delicious. – Maggie
Rhubarb, the first sweet taste of spring! I am always inspired to break out my apron and get down to baking something decadent when I happen upon rhubarb at the market. After a long winter of greens, potatoes, onions and other assorted root vegetables, it is so refreshing to see the gorgeous, crimson rhubarb stalks stacked high.
Although I often shop my local farmers market with a shopping list, I always remain open to unexpected ingredients. The element of surprise is one of the many joys of market shopping. Unique, heirloom or exotic varieties of your favorite fruits and vegetables can provide plenty of recipe inspiration, as can different cuts of meat, homemade cheeses, freshly caught seafood, and even unique egg variations (duck, quail, goose!).
When Heidi and I decided to meet at SoWa Market in Boston on opening day we had no recipe or plan in hand other than to browse and see what caught our attention. When we came across rhubarb, and then dark, amber maple syrup at the next stall over our recipe started coming together. Using farm fresh eggs, Nutting Farm maple syrup and organically grown rhubarb, I decided to make Rhubarb Maple Muffins with a crumble topping- decadent, delicious and simply spring.
Rhubarb Maple Muffins with Crumb Topping
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- In a small bowl, combine flours, sugar, maple syrup, spices and salt. Stir in butter until crumbly. Set aside. (*see note for add-in options)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt (or you can use sour cream)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup diced rhubarb, in 1/2-inch pieces (from about 6 to 8 ounces of stalks)
- Preheat oven to 375 °F. Butter 12 muffin cups, or use paper liners.
- Combine eggs, sugar and maple syrup in a large bowl and whisk. Add in the bitter, then yogurt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix together flours, baking powder and baking soda.
- Stir your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined (your batter will be lumpy- this is okay!).
- Fold in rhubarb and about 1/3 of the crumble mixture (if you choose to add strawberries, fold them in as well. See options below).
- Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, and top each with crumble, pressing the crumble gently into the batter so that is stays put.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes in the pan before moving them to a cooling rack.
Options: I also used strawberries, about 1/2 cup, which added just the right amount of sweetness and moisture to the muffins. Although they are very good with just the rhubarb! You can try adding oats, pecans or other chopped nuts to the crumble if you like a bit of crunchiness with your muffin (which I do). I eye-balled it and added a small handful of lightly toasted, chopped pecans to the crumble of my second batch of muffins. Delicious!
All recipe photos styled and taken by Christine Chitnis. All market photos taken by Heidi Murphy/White Loft Style.
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