Thursday 8 September 2016

NEW! Rhubarb, Strawberry & Custard Muffins (M&S)

Yesterday afternoon on my way home from work I was having conversation with Nat (of a-lot-o-choc blog) about some of the scrummy new desserts and treats that have just popped up in M&S*. Well, actually that's a fib. Nat was actually informing me of the delights because I hadn't spotted them yet. One mention of rhubarb, strawberry & custard crumble muffins however and I knew I'd be taking a pricey detour via Sparks. The dogs could surely cross their tails and wait 10 minutes longer for their wees! 

Now if you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know that I have a very soft spot for rhubarb, and that a bowl of strawberry & rhubarb crumble with custard once rendered me a content but sobbing mess (see the story here if you're interested). Anyway, it's something about the sweet-tart combination that thrills my tastebuds, but I've discovered that it's a delicate balance when translated into other treats. Over the year I've tried rhubarb & custard flavoured dessert pots, ice creams, and even a doughnut -but I can't recall ever seeing a muffin before. I really hoped that M&S would do it justice! 

"fruity rhubarb muffin, double filled with strawberry & rhubarb compote and custard, topped with tumbling crumble."

I ended up buying two different packs of M&S muffins in the end as they were in a 2 for £2.50 offer (otherwise £1.60 on their own). They certainly looked light and fluffy, with a dusting of crumble topping as promised. Their innards appeared even more appetising, and I was thrilled to see the clear pockets of both custard and compote, although where was the rhubarb at? Was the paltry smattering at the bottom all there was? 

Well yes, I'm afraid so. The rhubarb was indeed completely lost in the mix, far overshadowed by the other, more sweet fillings. The custard was pleasant (it just reminded me of cold Ambrosia, which I love) but it felt all wrong to have just a smidge of creaminess in such a large piece of cake -or is it just me who drowns their puddings in custard? The compote (AKA jam) was far more strawberry than rhubarb; and although yummy, missed the mark entirely. It really required the traditionally sharp tang of the rhubarb that M&S promised of. The jot of fruit at was simply disappointing, and felt almost like an afterthought. The muffins would have been far better with the rhubarb chunks rippled throughout; I'm sure Mary Berry would have something to say about the sunken soggy chunks lingering right at the bottom.

On the plus side, the texture of the cake itself couldn't be better. It was light and fluffy with a melt-in-the-mouth butteriness that tasted remarkably homemade. The crumble also added a light crunch and was a welcome addition. 

All in all, these are a nice new addition to M&S' bakery aisle. They're just not outstanding, and in fact are inferior to ASDA's toffee fudge muffins. Here's hoping the other new M&S muffins I bought will be better than the rhubarb versions... Stay tuned!


*Yes, we're bored of you now Spirit of Summer, it's time to move over.

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