Monday, February 18, 2008

on a cupcake roll

honey pear cupcakes with white chocolate pistachio buttercream

i am back to baking in a big way. i took a bit of a break but my kitchen missed me and i it. so i've been on the prowl for interesting cupcake flavors and for recipes that allow me to try new things. we had some friends over for dinner and i found these very adult sounding cupcakes on

i have never used self-rising flour, so my feelings about this recipe may be due to my own newness to it's flavor (that, or i made some sort of mistake). my guests and husband enjoyed them, but i found them to be a bit heavy on the salty/baking soda/powder side - the texture was more like a biscuit than a cake and i couldn't really taste the honey, vanilla and pear like i'd hoped. they were by no means bad and i think if i make them again, i'll keep the salty flavor, but i might adjust the ingredients to a more conventional (to me) recipe. i really did love the flavor combo of the pear and the frosting ingredients. i'm including the original recipes with my own notes.

no, don't pick us! my pears fall into line...

honey poached pears
3 cups water
1/4 cup honey
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
2 large pears (as you can see, I used 4 medium ones because I wanted extra for eating)

1. combine water, honey and sugar in a sauce pan
2. scrape the seeds out of vanilla bean and add to pot
3. bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes
4. add pears to the mixture and simmer until pears are tender (20 minutes)

first minute in the syrup
last minute - golden and soft

remove the pears from the heat and allow to cool. place in the fridge until you make the cupcakes. or, like me, sample while warm with a bit of syrup... if only i kept vanilla bean ice cream on hand. actually, this is probably why i don't.

hmm, one is missing? pears chillin'

poached pear cupcakes
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 honey poached pear, mashed
1 honey poached pear, sliced
1/2 cup syrup from pears
1 2/3 cups self raising flour

1. cream butter until light and fluffy (2 minutes)
2. add eggs one at a time, beating between each
3. alternately beat in the flour and honey syrup in three lots
4. fold in the mashed pear
5. divide batter into 12 cupcake tins and place a slice of pear on top of each
6. bake at 350˚F for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
7. allow to cool completely before frosting
(i think i'll try using a basic vanilla cupcake batter with regular flour and adjust the ingredients a bit - i would love to taste more of the honey vanilla syrup and more pears throughout. my favorite part was the pear on top, so juicy and sweet.)

a not-so-grand picture of the baked cupcakes

white chocolate pistachio buttercream
5 oz white chocolate, melted
1/4 cup pistachios
1/2 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp milk

1. grind the pistachios with 1 tbsp powdered sugar in a food processor (i ground mine to a fine powder with minimal chunks)
2. cream the butter until fluffy (2 minutes)
3. add the lemon zest and ground pistachios and beat until combined
4. alternate adding the lemon juice and 1/2 the powdered sugar until combined
5. alternate adding the milk and powdered sugar until creamy
(i did exactly this and found there to be just under the amount of frosting i normally use/ i added a bit more to it. i probably used just under 3/4 cup ground pistachios and closer to 4 cups powdered sugar, adjusting the liquids to meet my tastes and consistency needs. i topped each cupcake with two raw, unsalted pistachios.)


Thomas said...

Whoops. Soup's cute and all, but cupcakes are TRES cutay. (Also, when will there be a new Teen Girl Squad episode, you know?)