Blueberry angel muffins

June 16, 2010

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Makes 18

Before executive pastry chef Bill Yosses began baking at the White House under the Bushes in 2007, he had 30 years experience in pastry kitchens in France and at establishments in New York such as Bouley and Josephs Citarella. He routinely prepares desserts for four to 400 guests. In his new cookbook, “The Perfect Finish,’’ coauthored with Melissa Clark, Yosses divides 80 recipes into birthdays, holidays, and other occasions. For pick-me-ups, he suggests blood orange squares or chocolate-chunk cookies with Nutella. These blueberry muffins, inspired by angel food cake, are fat free, combining berries and egg whites into tasty treats Yosses recommends for breakfast. He calls meringue, the key to their fluffiness, the “the eighth wonder of the world.’’ Serve them within 4 hours.

2/3 cup cake flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries, picked over
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
Extra granulated sugar (for sprinkling)

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Line 18 cups in 2 standard muffin tins with paper cups.

2. On parchment or waxed paper, sift the cake flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt; set aside.

3. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries and vanilla.

4. In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until frothy. Add 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar and beat at medium speed until soft peaks form. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, and raise the speed to high. Beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks.

5. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. Sprinkle the flour mixture and lemon rind on the egg whites. With a rubber spatula, fold them in, working carefully to avoid deflating the whites. Fold in half of the blueberries.

6. Divide the batter among the muffin cups so that each one is 2/3 full. Top each muffin with a few more blueberries and sprinkle each with a little more granulated sugar.

7. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins are lightly golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the tins and transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.

Clara Silverstein. Adapted from “The Perfect Finish’’