These moist, almondy muffins work well with blackcurrants or halved raspberries instead of blueberries. You can also use freeze-dried fruit instead of the fresh fruit, but you will need less as the flavour is intense – 25g (1oz) is sufficient. Don’t put any on top, though, as they burn easily. The mixture makes 12 large muffins, but would easily stretch to 15 if you make them slightly smaller.
- Place the chopped dates in a pan with the water and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and leave to soak for about 30 minutes or until the dates are soft.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan), gas mark 5. Prepare the muffin tin by either greasing (using a little extra oil) and lining the bases with circles of baking parchment or by inserting muffin cases.
- Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder, then mix with the ground almonds and polenta.
- Blend the date mixture in a food processor, then add the oil, lemon juice or vitamin C powder, almond extract and 225ml (8fl oz) of milk or water and process to mix.
- Add the flour mixture to the date mixture and process quickly to combine, adding more liquid if needed, to make a very soft, dropping consistency (almost like a thick batter).
- Roughly stir in the blueberries, then divide the mixture between the muffin moulds or paper cases (they will be quite full) and press 3–4 of the extra blueberries into the surface of each muffin.
- Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the mixture is risen and springy to touch.
- Leave the muffins to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.