3 februari 2013

Pear & Rosemary Cupcakes

There is a new Hummingbird Bakery cookbook coming. The name is Home Sweet Home and I already pre-ordered it on Amazon.
On this occasion the Hummingbird Bakery is organizing a contest in association with Emerald Street. The goal of the contest is to design and bake a cupcake. My kind of challenge!

Recipes have a funny way of coming together. This one found its root in the rosemary I bought with a foccacia in mind. I never got around to baking it so it sat in my kitchen. And when I saw some nice and ripe pears during my shopping, an idea started to form in my head. I would poach the pears in a sugar-rosemary-lemon syrup before adding them in chunks to my cupcake batter.
To top the cupcakes, I was going for a cream cheese frosting but at the last minute I decided to add some cacao to it.

Whilst the cupcakes where cooling I looked a bit more into detail at the conditions of the Emerald Street-Hummingbird Bakery cupcake challenge. And I was so disappointed to find out that it is only open to UK residents.

So there is no change of winning a Kichenaid for me. No Pear & Rosemary cupcakes as a contestant to be sold in the Hummingbird bakeries. But I do end up with some lovely cupcakes that I enjoyed putting together. Hope you do too!

For the poached pears

120 g of caster sugar
1 branch of rosemary in 3 parts
3 large strips of lemon peel
1 tbs lemon juice
2 ripe but firm pears

You can prepare the pears the day or evening before baking your cupcakes.

Fill a medium saucepan with 375 ml water. Add the sugar, rosemary and the lemon peel and juice. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.

Meanwhile, peel the pears, leaving them whole, stem included. Use a spoon or a small Parisian spoon to remove the heart from the base. Place the pears in the pan. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer, taking care to turn the pears occasionally, until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pears from the pan.
Boil the syrup uncovered for 7 to 9 minutes, until reduced and it has thickened (it will continue to thicken as it cools). Poor the liquid through a sieve and let cool completely.

For the cupcakes

135 g flour
2 ts baking powder
25 g ground almonds
150 g sugar
50 g butter at room temperature
125 g of crème fraîche
2 eggs

Preparation of the cupcakes

Preheat oven to 170 ° C. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
Chop the pears into small cubes and set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder and almond powder and add a pinch of salt, the sugar and the butter.

Mixer at slow speed until there is a sandy texture. This may take 5-10 minutes.

Mix the crème fraîche with the first egg and then add the second egg.  Add half of this into the butter mixture. Scrape and add the rest. Mix until the dough is smooth.

Put a spoonful of batter in the prepared cupcake liners. Add the cubes of pear. Be carefull not to overfill the cupcake liners (2/3 max.).

Bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes. Right after you take the cupcakes out of the over, use a skewer (or the point of a sharp knife) to prick little holes in the cakes. Gently drip some of the syrup over the cupcakes.  
Take the cupcakes out of the pan and set on a rack to cool completely.

Whilst your cupcakes are cooling down you can prepare the frosting of your choice. I find that cream cheese icing always goes well with fruit cupcakes. To change I added a bit of cacao powder


50 g butter, at room temperature
300 g icing sugar
125 g cream cheese
25 g cacao powder

Mix together the butter, the icing sugar and cacao powder until well blended. Add the cream cheese and mix until light and fluffy.

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