I have a confession to make.
I am hooked on Downton Abbey. There is something about the intrigue that happens upstairs among the aristocratic family members, as well as downstairs among the servants. Last week a set my PVR to tape the show and it shut down half way through the episode. I tried searching the guide to see if I could get another chance to see it on time shifting, without any luck.
I am always entertained by period films like Downton because they take us back to a time in history when life was simple and predictable. Not that I would be comfortable living in an era where there was such a class distinction. I also would hate to be treated as a second class citizen because I am a woman.
So what is it that we find so interesting about these films?
I think for me, it is the beautiful estates, the wonderful costumes and the great acting. The series does a wonderful job of representing what life might have been like as we entered the 20th century. The characters are well-developed over the series to the point that you choose your favourites and watch faithfully to see what will happen to them next.
Perhaps I would not want to have lived at that time, but it is fun to imagine how others did.
These rich dark oat muffins are reminiscent of something that might have been enjoyed with a cup of tea and some homemade jam at Downton Abbey.
Oat Muffins With Cranberries and Pears
Makes 12 muffins
1 1/3 cups (330 ml) rolled oats, plus extra for sprinkling
1 ¼ cups (310 ml) Plain yogurt (not low-fat or fat-free)
½ cup (125 ml) fancy molasses
½ cup (125 ml) packed light brown sugar
½ cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour
½ cup (125 ml) whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp. (7.5 ml) baking powder
½ tsp. (2 ml) baking soda
½ tsp. (2 ml) salt
¼ tsp. (1 ml) ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. (1 ml) ground nutmeg
2/3 cup (160 ml) peeled and diced pears
1/3 cup (80 ml) dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 375˚ F (190˚ C) and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
Stir the oats and yogurt together in a large bowl. Stir in the molasses, brown sugar, melted butter, and egg.
In a separate bowl, sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in the flour mixture into the oat mixture until blended, then stir in the pears and cranberries and sprinkle with a few oats. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the muffins spring back when gently pressed. Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes in the tin before removing to cool completely. The muffins will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Recipe from Back to Baking by Anna Olsen