This week the Petits Chefs baked up a recipe I thought would be a nice one to introduce them to as we approach the Easter long weekend… Who doesn’t love savoury muffins? Especially ones stuffed with zucchini, prosciutto and goat cheese? Perfect for an Easter brunch, right? This particular version comes from Marie Asselin’s latest book, French Appetizers, a book I’ll review in full in coming weeks.
From the publisher:
Enjoy the French ritual of l’apéro by bringing a little bit of France into your home and taking time to savor the good things in life by living, eating, and drinking well—bon appétit!
L’apéro consists of before dinner drinks served with finger foods and small bites. This collection of French appetizers is perfect to serve for l’apéro, happy hour, or to give a lunch box or picnic basket that “something extra-special.” Fresh, modern, and versatile French-inspired appetizers and small servings, from basic tapenades and hummus, to savory cakes, quiches, tartlets, mini sandwiches, soups, skewers, and sweet treats are perfect as a prelude to dinner, or even in place of an evening meal. Many recipes include simple formulas to make several versions of a single recipe so that you are only limited by your own taste buds and creativity.
It’s gorgeous book full of all sorts of interesting recipes (including sweet recipes which I have never thought to serve for l’apéro) and I’ve pored over it, marking recipes to make for my own heures de l’apéro. You’ll all know I am a huge fan of l’heure de l’apéro (though I am a lazy apéritif host and am more likely to serve interesting French chips, cherry tomatoes and mixed nuts than make much from scratch other than gougères… So this is a nice boost of inspiration! In any case, I couldn’t think of a better match for mini food than little hands so I looked for something I thought the boys would like to make and eat.
The boys hadn’t heard of l’heure de l’apéro (though, curiously, some of them had heard of hors d’oeuvres and a few were familiar with “pre-dinner drinks”), so we had a whole language lesson in French and English about the idea of appetizers/hors d’oeuvres/ apéritif (“wait, adults drink wine before AND during a meal??”), then we moved into the whole starter vs entrée discussion (“But entrée means “entry” why do we use ii to talk about our main dish?” Uh huh. Out of the mouths of babes, as they say…). Never a dull moment in cooking club! The boys decided that many of the recipes could be classified as “After School Snacks” and were thrilled that we were making muffins with some of their favourite ingredients (goat cheese and prosciutto). “It’s the perfect after-school snack!” declared more than one of them!
We’ve only got a small group of boys this term (my choice to keep it small so we’re able to teach the boys skills each week, rather than just “getting through” recipes) and this was a perfect recipe to divide them into teams and just have them read and follow the recipe fairly independently.
They measured and mixed the wet ingredients…
A note that the the recipe called for 3oz – 85g – prosciutto for 12 muffins. We doubled the recipe and used 115g (because that’s what was in a package of 9 slices) and found it was a LOT – not sure if that was the reason but the boys on this station didn’t open the other package to chop and then were like “Oh look – we have 9 slices of prosciutto leftover and there are nine of us in club today….” Uh huh – we got to snack on the leftovers! On sampling the finished muffins, I’d say the prosciutto might have benefited from being cut smaller if you were to use the full amount 😉
Then they squeezed the water out of the zucchini…
But don’t they look pretty all ready for the oven?
These were SO good and definitely a brunch/ after school snack item. For l’apéro (if I didn’t eat the prosciutto and goat cheese before I cooked with them LOL!), I’d make mini muffins – so they are literally just one bite to enjoy with a pre-dinner drink. For the boys, though, these were perfect! They loved the flavour combination and they loved the idea of customizing this with other cheese or ham, depending on what you have on hand. A real hit that I imagine might make it to some Easter tables this weekend!
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Disclosure: I was sent a review copy of French Appetizers by the publisher. I was not asked to write about this book and am not being compensated for writing this post. All opinions are my own.