Because who can resist a bit of alliteration?
Harumi’s Japanese Cooking| Harumi Kurihara
(Conran Octopus, 2004)
Steamed Cream Cheese Muffins
I’ve had this book for ages, and it’s one of the few that I actually use regularly, but I’ve never ventured into the desserts section of the book before. Add in the fact that it was one of the few nice days of the summer so I wanted something not too heavy, and there we go.
Ha! Well, they’re stupidly easy. Microwave stuff. Mix stuff. Microwave stuff again. End of. The most complicated bit was lining the ramekins with baking parchment and making little clingfilm tents so that they steam properly. That and actually gathering the ingredients. For some reason, the supermarkets were conspiring against me and either not selling cream cheese or not selling cream. Well, there were selling cream cheese, but I don’t think the world is ready for garlic and chive and vanilla muffins. There’s really not a lot to say about them, in terms of preparation. It’s interesting to find things that are baked without the oven; I guess it partly stems from so many Japanese flats being tiny little shoeboxes and a lot of people not even having ovens. That sidebar dealt with, in summary: easy.
Yeah… these aren’t going to win any awards for presentation or get me a pastry chef internship any time soon. But given that that were made in the microwave, I don’t think they’re too ugly. And they do look rather like the ones in the book, so I’m confident that they’re meant to look like that. The microwave mug cake that was doing the internet rounds a year or two ago was really not pleasant to look at, all lumpy and bulbous where it boiled over the mug. At least these have kept their shape and are a fairly pleasant yellow colour. I’m not entirely sure they deserve the name ‘muffins’ to be honest, but there you go.
I think I may have overcooked them slightly, because they’re a bit spongy. But on the other hand, perhapsyou can’t set your sights too high with microwave cake. They’re light, and fresh-tasting, but I think they’d really benefit from being served with fruit, say, or even ice-cream. They’re not quite … satisfying enough by themselves.