This month’s Alphabakes challenge (co-hosted by Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline from Caroline Makes) is brought to you by the letter “N.” Not so tricky I thought until I actually sat down and pondered the options. “N” basically leaves you with…well…nuts and various derivations thereof. Nut-meg and erm…Nut-ella. A lot of my recipe books didn’t even have an “N” section.
So I was at a bit of a loss for ideas until I remembered the humble naartjie. Now unless you are South African you are probably wondering, “What is this naartjie of which she speaks?” In truth, it’s not some fabulous new ingredient that I am going to introduce you to. It’s just the Afrikaans word for a tangerine. But, hey, it begins with “N” and has no relation to nuts so I’ll take it.
My intention was to make this crustless cardamom and naartjie zest milk tart but disaster befell me twice. On the first attempt, I poured the mixture into a spring-form tin only to see it dribble through the cracks and on to the floor. On the second attempt, the tart didn’t set despite baking for twice as long as the recipe stated.
Obviously the milk tart was not meant to be so I scrabbled around the internet for a quick and easy alternative and came across this recipe for naartjie, cranberry and white chocolate muffins. Now I cannot lie. These are not the best muffins I have ever made. The texture is a bit weird: more bath sponge than sponge cake. But they are packed full of chocolate and fruit and the flavour combinations worked well together. I also loved the drizzle of icing made from icing sugar and naartjie juice.
I decorated my muffins with some crushed dried naartjie peel, an idea I took from Jane-Anne Hobbs wonderful South African blog Scrumptious. This is such a clever idea for decorating citrus dishes as the peel retains its bright orange hue and looks so pretty on the plate. You can find Jane-Anne’s tips for drying naartjie peel here.