Muffin is a favorite in family kitchens all over the world for three simple reason. First, they can be made quickly and simply without too much fuss. You don’t have to whisk egg perfectly, no need for delicate expertise commonly needed to make other types of cake. Second, they are delicious and suit the palate of young and old people alike. Third, they can be easily customized using local ingredients. The versatile quality of muffin makes it a favorite in Russia too. There is even Russian muffin that is made using locally-sourced ingredients.
Facts About Russian Muffin
Russian muffin is quite similar to Russian version of cupcake, with two small differences. Russian cupcake has lighter dough with a lot of sweetener and commonly requires liquor. On the other hand, Russian muffin is relatively heavier, they can be either sweet or savory, and does not need any liquor at all.
Russian muffin is also a comparatively healthier and more nutritious dessert than cupcakes, because the recipe requires less sugar. Contrarily, it is quite common to add Tvorog (Russian cottage cheese) in the recipes of Russian muffin with a lot of raisins. This is what makes Russian muffin become so special for a lot of people.
Tvorog, the superstar among Russian dairy products, is low in carbs and sugars. But it contains a lot of sodium with smaller amount of protein, also vitamins A and C. Sodium is an essential electrolyte that maintains the balance of water in the body, helps proper muscle and nerve function, as well as controls blood pressure levels.
Add that with raisins which are fully-charged with energy and rich in fiber, potassium, vitamins, and minerals. Although raisins are relatively more sugary than Tvorog, but it is very beneficial in moderate portion. In fact, raisins can keep you feeling full for longer, help digestion, boost your iron levels, and may prevent damages to your cells and bones.
If you are someone with diabetes or high cholesterol problems, then Russian muffin should be avoided. But as long as you are a healthy person with few dietary constraints, then it is a good option for breakfast, afternoon snacks, and dinner dessert. You can also make it in mini sizes as finger foods for family parties, such as birthdays, new year party, or celebration of International Men’s Day.
So, after learning about what makes Russian muffin become so special, are you interested in it too? Let’s learn how to make Russian muffin and how to customize it to your taste. Don’t worry, it is very easy.
Basic Recipe for Sweet Russian Muffin
Russian muffin recipe is actually a slightly modified version of Syrniki, one of the most served desserts in Russian restaurants. However, Russian muffin is baked in small muffin molds, instead of fried on a pan like traditional Syrniki. Before making the muffin in your kitchen, make sure that you have prepared several paper cups or silicone muffin molds and your oven works well.
- 450 gr of Tvorog (if it is not available in your neighborhood, you can exchange it with ordinary cottage cheese or ricotta cheese)
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup of raisins (you can choose golden raisins, black raisins, or sultanas)
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt (for unsalted cheese)
- 3 tablespoons of flour
- A little bit of butter for greasing muffin cups
- A little bit of flour for dusting muffin cups
- Sour cream to garnish
- Pre-heat the oven at 375 F, then warm up the baking sheet (it will take a few seconds in the oven).
- If you use silicone muffin mold, grease the inner part of the mold with butter, then dust it lightly with flour. Flour will prevent muffin dough to stick to the walls of the mold. You can skip this step if you prefer paper cups instead.
- Mix cheese, eggs, sugar, salt, flour, and vanilla until you have a smooth batter. Throw in the raisins.
- Put the batter into the muffin cups. This recipe should suit around 6-8 cups, depending on how big the cup.
- Bake it for more or less 45 minutes until golden. Take the muffins out of the oven and let it cool for a few minutes (no longer than 5 minutes). If you use the silicone molds, twist the muffin a little in the mold so they can be taken out more easily. Put them in a serving plate.
- Serve the muffins warm with chilled sour cream on top or on the side. If you prefer it sweeter, then you can eat it with some fruit jam.
Modifying the Russian Muffin
Modifying certain recipes may be seen as a near-blasphemy by overzealous gastronomist who strive to keep food authenticity as priority. However, for some other people, it may provide boundless inspirations amid boring daily routine, as well as an effort to make some food become more suitable for people with strict dietary constraints. For the latter group, Russian muffin will prove to be a very exciting food.
Here are a few ideas on how to modify the Russian muffin recipes:
- Add mashed bananas: In the third step, you can add mashed bananas along with raisins. Bananas are rich in potassium and vitamins which will make it even more nutritious for your family breakfasts.
- For diabetes and high cholesterol: Exchange Tvorog with fat-less or skim-less cottage cheese. Also, don’t forget to replace sugar with honey, stevia, or other non-sugar sweetener.
- For sweet muffin garnishes: There are many other garnishes that you can serve along sweet muffin besides the good, old sour cream. There are white yogurt, honey, powdered sugar, or some fresh berries.
- For savory muffin: Reduce the amount of sugar (at least half, but it depends on your taste), add some ground clove, and exchange raisins with chopped celery stalks. Mix ground clove in the batter along with vanilla extract at the third step. Throw in the celery afterwards. If you don’t like celery, you can make use of any other herbs, either dry or fresh, and paprika.
- For savory muffin garnishes: compound butter, smoked salmon, and chili powders are nice addition to a satisfying and savory muffin.
So, what do you think? Do you have any ideas on what kind of muffin you want to make in the kitchen today? Russian muffins can stay in room temperature for around 2 days before going bad, and they can last for around 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Therefore, you can make a lot of them in one time, then keep it for tomorrow’s breakfast or snacks. This is surely an attractive option, although you may also prefer other Russian daily breakfast menu.