Lemon Pistachio Muffins

Lemon Pistachio Muffin

Millet has been a staple grain for thousands of years, but I find it funny that I’ve mainly associated it with bird food. Its main use in the United States actually is for feeding livestock and for pet bird food, but it’s silly to overlook millet as a vital and delicious food source for those reasons alone.

Vandana Shiva, an advocate for seed diversification, said the following about millet:

A good example is millet, which has been downgraded in the international agricultural system as a marginal or primitive crop. Yet millet is far more nutritious than wheat. It is also more diverse and water prudent. But it grows very locally and so the food and taste habits linked to millet are culturally specific. Huge corporations could not assume control overnight and develop consumer habits for millet as they can for white bread. So they downgraded millet production, even though it is one of the best crops for combating desertification. I think it is time the industrialized world recognized that its economic paradigm is demanding too much from the earth.

I still have a few savory meals I’d like to plan using whole millet grains, but I couldn’t resist using millet flour once I found the recipe listed here. It has a lovely texture that is somewhat like chewy, delicious cornbread with just a little bit of a sticky texture. The lemon combined with the pistachio gives off a lovely aroma while baking, but I think the real secret here is the mixture of millet and rice flour.

I used this Lemon, Pistachio, and Millet cake recipe from the Cannelie et Vanille blog, and needed to make a few calculations to use the measurements. The author has a scale and measures everything in grams, but since I haven’t been able to get around to buying my own scale yet, I converted to ounces.

I strongly advise using mini-cupcake tins if you have them. The mix of all these flours with the butter and sugar is heavenly, but I think you’ll find your results even better if you allow more of the surface area to cook/caramelize. I used both regular cupcake tins and mini cupcake tins, and found the inside of the larger cupcakes to be too wet for my taste. I even cooked the larger cupcakes a little longer, and the outside was absolutely perfect but the inside just still too moist. I think this recipe would also work exceedingly well as cookies.

A final note, I didn’t realize that pistachio meal was so easy to make. Just buy roasted unsalted pistachios, and chop in a food processor until the nuts are at a cornmeal-like consistency.

Lemon Pistachio Muffins

8 tbsp butter (1/2 cup)
6.3 ounces sugar (or about 3/4 cup)
3 ounces millet flour
2.5 ounces pistachio meal
1 ounce sweet rice flour
Zest 2 lemons
2 eggs
3 ounces yogurt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together. Add the eggs one at a time, add the yogurt, and mix wet ingredients until incorporated. Add all the dry ingredients and mix well.

Spoon the batter into mini cupcake molds. Bake at 350F about 20 minutes, or until you see some nice dark brown edges around each cake.

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