Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pistachio Cupcakes

My mom's favorite is Pistachios. She'll eat anything that is Pistachio. Pistachio ice cream, cookies, chocolate, you name it. So when I found this recipe from Annie's Eats, I immediately thought to make this for my mom one day. I kept delaying trying to make this recipe, and when I had mentioned to my mom about these cupcakes last week, there was no backing out. I had to make these ASAP. And since we're going out of town this weekend with my parents, I figured I'd take some along for her.

The frosting I used for these cupcakes is a Pistachio and Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream I found from a link that Annie included in her recipe. The original recipe is from Use Real Butter and it made a lot of frosting. I would probably reduce the ingredients to half to accommodate the 16-18 cupcakes this recipe makes. There were a lot of steps to making this recipe. But the cake came out really moist and flavorful and has a burst of pistachio flavor. I'm sure my mom will love these.

3/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp., shelled pistachios
10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt

1) Preheat oven to 325 deg F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

2) Place 1/2 cup pistachios in a food processor and process until finely grounded.

3) Combine butter, pistachios and cream cheese and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar on medium-low speed, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in vanilla. With the mixer on low, slowly add flour and salt and mix just until dry ingredients are incorporated. Coarsely chop the remaining pistachios and fold into batter.

4) Divide batter in prepared pans, filling it up about 3/4 full. Bake, rotating halfway through baking, for about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for a few minutes, then place on wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Pistachio & Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
8 oz egg whites
16 oz sugar
1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 /2 cups shelled pistachios

1) Blanch pistachios in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and place pistachios on a cotton towel. Fold towel over and rub the pistachios vigorously to loosen and remove the skin. Toast the skinned pistachios for 15 minutes at 325 deg F. Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature. Finely chop 2/3 cup of the the pistachios.

2) Combine egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl. Place in a double boiler until mixture reaches 140 deg F, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Whip mixture with a balloon whisk on medium speed until stiff. Lower speed to the 3rd speed and continue whipping until cool to touch. Switch to a paddle and continue beating. Gradually add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix to emulsify. Once desired consistency is reached, add vanilla. Fold in chopped pistachios. Frost cooled cupcakes. Top cupcakes with the remaining pistachios for garnish.

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