So, my brother is looking for an apartment.
I’m sure you’re all like, “oh that’s nice”.
And it is, really, until you’re hit by the magnitude of the fact that by “looking” I actually mean “looking to buy” and not “looking to rent”.
Did I mention that he is two years younger than me and the kind of down payments he is looking at would take me four years of MD/PhD stipend to accumulate, and that is only if I subsisted solely on peanut butter and jelly and didn’t ever leave my apartment and didn’t have to pay rent.
So really at my current rate of expenditure…we’re looking at a decade of savings. That he has somehow accrued after only two years in the working world. And that is while still eating and living and paying to have a roof over his head.
Sometimes, I really think I chose the wrong profession. At least from an instant gratitude kind of perspective.
The unfortunate thing about trying to buy an apartment in Manhattan (aside from, you know…the absurdly inflated prices) is that it is always a seller’s market so real estate brokers don’t exactly try to woo you.
There is no freshly baked cookie smell coming out of the ovens and often, the place is barely even cleaned up before you are taken to go see it. The entire “how to sell a house” handbook is pretty much thrown out the window because there are just too many people on this tiny island and not enough places to put them. Supply and demand at it’s most basic.
In fact, there is almost a complete role reversal where you, as the buyer, want to (practically) seduce your real estate agent.
You wear a suit and tie. Shine your shoes. Bat your eyelashes. Bring breakfast.
Preferably of the outrageously delicious muffin variety.
Case in point.
Unfortunately for my brother (and all of the real estate agents he is meeting with) we ate these so fast and with such reckless abandon that there were none left over for him to take with him. But maybe if I like him I’ll make another batch. Maybe.
The thing about these is that you are really going to think that they won’t work. You’ll look at the amount of flour used for the amount of liquid and then you’ll scratch your head in utter confusion. But I pinky swear promise that everything will turn out for the best. The batter will just be thick. We can deal with that, right?
And the end result more than makes up for any slight batter stress you might have They are hearty, the way a muffin should be. But also moist and bursting with sweet almond flour that is offset perfectly by the tart plum compote that they are topped with. The kind-of-stale muffins at your local coffee shop can’t even hold a candle to these babies. As it should be.
I am submitting these to this week’s IHCC!
Also the WINNER of last week’s Whole Foods gift card giveaway is PsychoTwin (Kelster)! Please email me at email@example.com to claim your prize!
One year ago…Black-Eyed Pea Cakes with Collard Greens
Two years ago…Coconut Potato Curry with Basil and Cashews
Three years ago…Arugula Salad with Roasted Figs, Pancetta, Almonds and Chili
Plum, Marzipan and Cinnamon Muffins
Makes 16, adapted from Ottolenghi
- 480 g all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- a pinch of salt
- 200 g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 120 g almond paste
For the compote:
- 700 g ripe red plums, stoned and cut into quarters, then 1/2-inch dice
- 60 g sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- First, make the plum compote. Heat the oven to 400. Put the plums in a shallow baking dish. Toss with the sugar and cinnamon stick. Place in the oven and bake for 10-20 minutes until the plums are soft and the liquid they give off starts to bubble. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs and 200 g sugar until mixed. Add in the milk and butter, stirring to combine.
- Grate the almond paste using a coarse grater and add to the batter. Add 80 g of the plum compote to this. Stir to combine. Set aside the rest of the compote for later.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the flour into the batter, until just combined.
- Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Spoon in the muffin batter, filling it all the way to the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. When cool enough to handle, remove from the tins to cool on a wire rack.
- Once they are cool, use a knife to cut a shallow circle in the tops of the muffins (go about halfway down the muffin). Pop out the cylinder you just made and fill muffins with the plum compote.