Hey there :)
Ok, I know I am some months late for the Hanami (花見) season, but who cares. I wanted to do a Hanami-interpretation, so I did. For those who don’t know what it is: Hanami is the blooming of the cherry blossoms in Japan. Well, actually I guess it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, but the Japanese celebrate the cherry blossoms especially. They meet up for picnics in parks, sit under cherry trees and eat, drink and spend some leisurely time. Oh, and the whole park will be filled with voices saying “waaah.. kireeeeiiii” or “sugoi desu, ne!!” and other mostly high pitched voices ;)
I sort of wanted to bake that feeling in a muffin. At least I wanted to try to do so :)
So when thinking about Hanami, cherry is an obvious ingredient for an interpretation. Quite easy. Then I wanted to capture some of the picnic-atmosphere. That’s when the color green was decided. And since we are in Japan, the origin of Matcha (抹茶), what else could I use to get that color? Right, nothing. Ok, to enhance the color and flavor, I added a bit pistachio oil, which is also greenish. But that’s just enhancement :)
To be quite honest, Matcha is not my all-time favorite ingredient. When used too much it tends to get bitter, so I only like it, when it gives a subtle flavor, nothing dominating. I think when I was living in Kyoto I had too much of it. They are really going crazy with it and put in everything. Cakes, Cookies, Steamed Buns, Chocolate Ice-Cream, Crepes, KitKat. You name it. So I guess I just had my share of it. But I haven’t consumed it in a while, and this was actually my first time baking with it. If you decide to bake with it as well, don’t go for the most expensive Matcha-powder. The heat will change the flavor a bit and it would be a waste to use some high-quality powder. Save that for drinking ;)
But anyway, even cheap Matcha-powder is expensive, so be aware, those muffins will cost a bit ^^° The Matcha-Powder I used I bought in an asian tea shop which I personally find the best source. But of course you can buy it in most health-grocery stores and as always online.
prep time: 30 mintues +++ yields: about 20-24 mini-muffins
- 1 egg
- 1 ¼ Cups / 100g white flour
- ¼ Cup / 55g sugar
- 1 Tbsp. Matcha-powder
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/3 Cup / 75g Mascarpone
- 2 Tbsp. Canola oil
- 3 Tbsp. pistachio oil
- ½ lemon, zest
- (I actually doubled the recipe and made another strawberry-matcha cake with it ;))
Wash the cherries but leave the stems for a fancier presentation. If you don’t like the stone, cut the cherry at the bottom and take it out.
In a big bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, matcha, salt and lemon zest.
In another bowl mix together the eggs, masacarpone, and both oils (you can go all canola or pistachio if you don’t have one or the other. More pistachio will make the muffins taste nuttier.)
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones and stir until evenly incorporated. You will be left with a dough that looks somewhat like wasabi ;)
Line a mini-muffin tray with papers. Scoop one teaspoon in each muffin-hole and put exactly one cherry on top. Now place another 2 or so teaspoons around the cherry so it is completely covered.
Bake the muffins at 175°C for about 15 minutes.
Take to a picnic and enjoy :)