Moist sweet blood orange and coconut muffins topped with a cloud of whipped ricotta, glistening candied blood orange, and crunchy toasted coconut flakes…
Ah, the muffin! The poor, underrated muffin. Forever in the shadow of more trendy pastries. Tarnished through association with petrol station convenience stores. Scorned for teaming up with wheat bran and raisins. Okay, maybe i’m being a tad dramatic here, but seriously, they were once dismissed by my eldest sister as “the cupcake’s cousin from the country”. Not these muffins!
No, these muffins hold their own next to any fussy, frilly confection. The citrus and coconut flavours, each having a welcome place in any baked treat, really pop when they come together. What takes the muffins up a notch, though, is the light-as-air, not-overly-sweet, whipped ricotta topping and the burst of tart candied blood orange.
Despite sophisticated appearances, these muffins are still substantial and familiar enough for that mid afternoon pick me up (cup of coffee non-negotiable), and they’re loaded with Vitamin C, making them good for you, right? Let’s just agree on that.
Oh, and if you’re still not sold on muffins, let us remember that muffins are the guys who basically make it legit to have cake for breakfast.
Blood Orange and Coconut Muffins with Whipped Ricotta and Candied Blood Orange
For the candied blood orange
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 blood orange
For the muffins
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda / baking soda
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 egg
- Zest and juice of 1 blood orange
- A handful of toasted cocnut flakes to garnish
For the whipped ricotta
- 300 g smooth ricotta (substitute with light cream cheese if you want)
- 2 – 3 tbsp icing sugar
Make the candied blood oranges first:
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to the boil. Stir the mixture to ensure all the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the blood orange slices and simmer for half an hour, till the white rind becomes translucent.
- Remove from the syrup and allow to cool completely, then cut each slice into quarters. Reserve the syrup for drizzling over the muffins. Use up any leftover syrup for pancakes or stir into a glass of sparkling water.
Make the muffin batter while the blood oranges are simmering:
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin cups, or place 12 stand-alone cups on a tray.
- Optional Step: In the small bowl of a food processor, blitz together the sugar and the orange zest. This helps release the fragrant oils from the zest.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, coconut, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and zest.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, coconut milk, oil and juice.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk by hand until just combined. Do not over whisk as it can make the muffins too dense.
- Scoop the mixture into muffin cups and bake for 15-20 min, or until a skewer inserted into the muffins comes out clean. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before topping.
Make the whipped ricotta topping
Combine the ricotta and 2 tbsp icing sugar and whisk by hand, or with an electric whisk on low speed, till the mixture is smooth. Taste the mixture and add more icing sugar if necessary, but not too much more – aim for just a hint of sweetness.
Once the muffins are completely cool, spread some whipped ricotta over the muffins and top each with a candied blood orange quarter and some toasted coconut flakes. Drizzle over some syrup from the candied blood oranges.