Petra CoxPetra is a specialty baker for Mom's Apple Pie Company, a family-run bakery with four locations in Northern Virginia. By the time she was born, the family business had been operating from their home for three years. Petra and her siblings grew up rolling crusts, peeling apples and baking pies with their parents from early on. In addition to bakery experience, Petra trained with family friend, Is Harris, making a variety of Thai cuisine from scratch, punctuating her culinary appreciation for both sweet and savory flavors and techniques. Subsequent training in oenology and cuisine both in Florence, Italy and Washington, DC led to her current position as wine buyer and recipe research and development at Mom's Apple Pie in Occoquan, Virginia.
Petra Cox: I am Petra Cox with Moms Apple Pie Bakery in Occoquan, Virginia and we have made some blueberry muffin batter today and this is an optional crumb topping that you can put on the blueberry muffins or any other kind of muffins that you might like to make.
So, what we need to make the crumb is a stick of butter. This is really cold butter. You can use either frozen, or just very cold butter and three quarters cups of all purpose flour and three quarters cup sugar and one teaspoon of salt and thats all you need. We are going to use a food processor today, but you can also use at home a pastry cutter, which is a small handheld tool, you can get at a kitchen supply store and it has four or five blades and you just use it in a bowl and it cuts up the butter into smaller pieces. So, the objective of making the crumb is really just to get the butter in small pieces coated with the sugar and the flour.
So, this is a stick of butter, cut into pieces probably about eight or ten pieces here and we are going to have three quarters cups of sugar. Here we go. Three quarter cups of all purpose flour. Again, scraping the top off of the cup of flour so that we can get a nice, even measurement there and just spread a little bit of savory quality. I like to use a little more salt about a teaspoon. You can add a little less, if you like. Its unsalted butter that we are working with, so I like to just have a little tiny bit of saltiness in there.
So, the food processor is fit with a regular standard food processor blade. With the food processor that you have at home, you can either just pause it or keep the food processor on at a medium speed just until the butter is cut up into maybe pea sized bits or a little bit smaller. So, I like to pause it just so I can check on the progress and make sure that I am not over mixing it into like dough. So, it just took a few pauses with that, but for the most part that should be the right texture. You have got some larger pieces and some smaller pieces and the sugar and the flour and the salt is fully incorporated so this will make a nice, fine crumb to put on the top of the blueberry muffin and you just need to put a little bit on top of each muffin.
Again, you can do that with any kind of muffin you like, if you want to make some other kind of berry muffin like cranberry, or raspberry, or strawberry. So, we are just going to put a little small handful on the top of each muffin. You can put it mostly right at the center and you find this has a nice, soft kind of sandy texture and it just fells right out your hand. It will take a little longer, if you are using a pastry cutter at home, but the objective is to have pieces of butter not much bigger than that, that will be part of the crumb and this cooks up into a nice crispy top for the muffin and I think aesthetically it looks really nice, especially if you dont like your blueberry muffins looking too blue. So, it has a nice white crumbly top.
So, we have some leftover here that you can just put in a freezer bag or just a little bowl wrapped up with foil and you can stick it in the freezer, it should last probably up to a month for your next batch of blueberry muffin, or if you like a little extra, you can put that on the muffins too. Now, we are ready to bake them. Here in our bakery, we have a convection oven and that runs probably about anywhere from 50 to a 100 degrees thats regular oven temperature. In your home oven, it will probably be more like around 350 degrees where we do it at 300 degrees here in our oven -- the convection oven blow air around faster and the food tends to cook faster and hotter. So, 300 in a convection oven, industrial convection, or 350 degrees at your home ovens. It should take probably about 25 minutes to the cook the muffin all the way through in your standard oven, but you can test with a toothpick and if it comes out clean it should probably be ready. Now, I am going to put that in the oven.