I want to introduce you to a new friend of mine. We haven’t known each other long but we’ve had a few short, intense moments in the last week. This friend is known as the duffin, and I like to think this is a friend I will have for life.
As with many good friends, you’re unwilling to share them amongst your social groups. They are yours and yours alone. You become unfairly possessive over them – what if they like your friends more than they like you? Could you bear the rejection? But with the duffin, this little guy can’t help but please everyone he meets, and bolsters you up with him as your friends are so impressed by the tender crumb, the sugary crunch, and the sticky jammy surprise in the centre. You end up getting the credit for the duffin’s hard work.
A duffin is all in the name; it is a cross between a muffin and a doughnut. I’m not sure if it rolls off the tongue – is moughnut any better though? – so any contributions for a new name will be greatly appreciated. Unlike a doughnut, the recipe is absurdly simple; so much so there will be less doughnuts around once the duffin goes global. It’s survival of the fittest at the end of the day. Instead of the satisfactory tear as you take a bite, and the classic doughnut chew, duffins are noticeably softer, more cakey, and melt in the mouth with astonishing ease. Rather than a dough it is a smooth and sloppy batter than you dole into a greased muffin tray. They are an express doughnut to satisfy your doughnut cravings in a mere half an hour. Once baked and golden you pop them out of the tray into a bed of cinnamon-scented sugar and playfully roll them around until crusted all over and sparkling.
Different recipes vary on the all-important addition of jam. Martha Collison suggests carving out a hole in the baked duffin, much like with doughnuts, and piping jam into its centre, while Sarah Cook from BBC Good Food instructs you to add it prior to baking, and layering the gem-coloured blobs with spoonfuls of batter. Having tried both, I found Martha’s method, although producing perfectly perky duffins, did not hold enough jam, leaving me feeling deprived. Sarah’s duffins took slightly longer to cook and were larger, not that this is a bad thing, and the sheer quantity of jam inside was enough to convince me of my favoured recipe.
The duffin is here to stay and I look forward to a long and happy relationship. The only downside is finding sugary residue all over the kitchen, but in terms of friendships, that is hardly a negative.
Adapted from BBC Good Food
140g caster sugar, plus 100-150g extra mixed with 1 tsp ground cinnamon for dusting
200g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml natural yoghurt
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
140g butter, melted
12 tsp various jams – I tried raspberry, apricot, strawberry and rhubarb
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease a 12-hole muffin tray with butter.
- Mix together the sugar, flour, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt to ensure it is all well combined. In a separate bowl whisk the yoghurt, eggs, vanilla and cooled melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold together until there are no lumps.
- Using a tablespoon, dollop a blob of mixture into each muffin hole. Top each with a teaspoon of jam – you may need to stir the jam to loosen it – then cover with another spoonful of batter. Repeat until you have none left.
- Slide the tray into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile mix the excess sugar with the cinnamon in a wide, shallow-sided bowl. Once the duffins are golden and springy to touch, and a skewer can be inserted and come out clean, they are ready.
- While the duffins are still warm, remove them from the tin and toss them in the cinnamon sugar. Either leave to cool on a wire rack or rip into one while it’s still hot.