Plane Sailing | Squash & Pecan Muffins With The New Microplane Master Series Graters
It’s not very often that we get excited about kitchen gadgets especially one as ordinary as a grater. But this (to coin a phrase) isn’t just any grater, this is a Microplane Master Series grater. “What makes it so special?” I hear you scream. Well apart from the fact that its solid walnut wooden handle looks the part, the real point of difference is its photo-etched blades.
I’m not going to bother you with the science behind these photo-etched blades (although it is a very clever process), I’m only going to tell you about the benefits. Blades on these Microplane graters are ultra-sharp and act like hundreds of tiny knives that, unlike conventional ‘stamped’ graters, cut ingredients cleanly rather than tearing or shredding. This precision cutting also preserves and intensifies the food’s aroma and flavour, this certainly rang true when zesting a lemon.
Microplane’s website states that these photo-etched blades ensures that food doesn’t stick, snag or get blocked. “Yeah right” I thought “Is there anything that these magic graters can’t do?” So I set out to prove them wrong. And I failed. Hard cheese – no sticking, fresh ginger – no snagging and dark chocolate – no blockage! I grated fresh bread (not that you ever would need to) and the loaf effortlessly glides across the cutting surface even with very little pressure.
The story goes that back in 1994 a Canadian housewife got so frustrated with her blunt grater that she ‘borrowed’ one of her husbands woodworking tools to zest an orange. It did the job brilliantly and word spread until a hardware catalogue suggested that this Microplane woodworking tool could be used as a kitchen gadget.
The rest, as the cliché goes, is history. 50 years of history to be precise! Made in the USA, these graters use high quality stainless-steel so they’re easy to clean (and dishwasher proof), long-lasting and so easy to use. We used the coarse grater and the zester from the beautifully designed Master Series, but there are so more variations available. Take a look at the John Lewis and Steamer Trading Cookshop website to see what’s on offer, although that’s just the tip of the iceberg lettuce (sorry, couldn’t resist).
The first thing that we noticed when taking the graters out of the box were their weight and quality, they looked fab, sat well in our hand and had a clever rubber base to stop it from slipping. We decided to put our Microplanes through their paces on a very seasonal Grated Squash Muffin recipe (that can be made either vegan or ‘regular’) with a light orange drizzle – as a little nod to a certain Canadian housewife who just couldn’t keep her hands off of her husband’s tool.
Grated Squash Muffins (vegan)
Ingredients (makes 10-12)
- 120g buckwheat flour
- 240g plain wholemeal flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice (you can make your own or buy online but we got ours from Bruno’s French Bakes in Rochester)
- 275g grated squash (using our new Microplane coarse grater)
- 12 tbsp agave syrup (or honey)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 250ml hazelnut milk (you can use almond or regular milk)
- 150g pecans
- 1 tbsp Tiana Organic Crystallised Coconut Nectar (or regular brown sugar)
For the orange glaze
- 2 tsp of orange zest (using our new Microplane zester)
- 3 tbsp of freshly squeezed orange juice
- 100g icing sugar
- Preheat your oven to 200°c (or 400°f/gas mark 6). Place liners in your muffin tin and squirt them with non-stick spray (really don’t skip this step – these muffins are gooey).
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
- In a separate bowl, combine the squash, honey, vanilla extract and milk. Add dry to wet in two batches, mixing until almost just combined.
- Meanwhile, crush or crumble the pecans (keep 24 whole to put on top of the baked muffin).
- Melt a little butter in a pan, add the nuts with some of the coconut nectar/sugar and caramelise for 2-3 minutes.
- Once cooled, stir into the batter which will be very thick.
- Divide the batter between the 12 muffin liners. Smooth the tops out and sprinkle lightly with the nectar or sugar.
- Turn the oven down to 190°c (or 375°f/gas mark 5) and bake for 20 minutes on the middle shelf.
- Make the orange glaze by stirring together the juice, zest, and sugar until thick and shiny. Drizzle a little glaze over the cooled muffins and place the whole pecan nuts on top, finish off with a little orange zest.
We hope you enjoy making (and eating) our muffins as much as we did. To make this, and other recipes even easier we’re GIVING AWAY a pair of Master Series Microplane graters (the coarse grater and the zester), worth over £60 to one lucky reader.
To win all you have to do is enter via Twitter or Facebook. To enter simply follow Microplane on Twitter and Facebook, retweet/share our post on your Twitter and Facebook feeds and leave a comment telling us what your favorite Autumn recipe is. One winner will be picked from all entrants. Comp closes on 12/11/17. You must be over 18 to enter this competition.
Find out more about Microplane here
This is a sponsored post for Microplane, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.