For some reason my junior high, a public school of otherwise unremarkable virtue, was miraculously endowed with a climbing wall. We learned to belay and boulder and of course, as it was not a team sport, it was my absolute favourite gym module.
And now, several years later, it seems like everyone climbs! Labmates, friends, acquaintances, and even my sister, visiting for a week, casually dropped that she started bouldering as well.
It’s made me want to revisit climbing. I still have the belaying movements ingrained in my memory, but the calls are a bit foggy apart from “on belay?” and “belay on!” Speaking to a junior high friend, we might go together, maybe just bouldering for now, to relive some of those old days of physical education. Though, rather than reliving, it sounds like we might get ourselves into a new, and suddenly rather popular, pursuit.
In the meantime, in a rather contradictory move, here are some muffins. The rhubarb is growing and it demands to be baked.
rhubarb, apricot and poppy seed muffins
Adapted from the blueberry muffin recipe in Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel.
86 g a.p. flour
109 g whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
96 g softened butter
75 g granulated sugar
2 tbsp honey
zest of 1 navel orange, finely grated
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
50 g thick 10% yoghurt
2 tbsp milk
80 g dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
200 g rhubarb
30 g butter
30 g whole wheat flour
30 g brown sugar
30 g rolled oats
Whisk together the flour, salt, poppy seeds, baking powder and baking soda. Cream the butter until light, then cream in the sugar and honey, followed by the eggs (one at a time) and the orange zest and vanilla extract. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the yoghurt and milk to the butter, mixing until just combined. Mix in the apricots and then cover the batter and let rest in the fridge overnight.
For the streusel, first mix together the flour and butter, then the sugar, oats and salt. Cover and set aside until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 425F. Chop the rhubarb and toss with a little bit of additional flour. Mix into the muffin batter–as it’s cold, it will be very thick and a bit difficult. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and divide the batter among 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle generously with streusel–you’ll have some left.
Bake for around 20 minutes or until an inserted skewer is removed clean.