Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pecan Pie Cupcakes

In the process of making these cupcakes, there was a great debate- is it pronounced puh-kahn or pee-can? Personally, I couldn't decide and would use whichever one I was in the mood for. Looking at them spelled out like this though, I must say, that I am leaning towards puh-kahn. Why, you may ask? Simply because the other version involves typing the word pee-can and that does not instill the idea of a delicious nut in my mind...it makes me think of...well, you know.
Anyway, I digress (in case your wondering, Merriam-Webster agrees with me, although I'm not sure it's for the same reason). Onto the cupcakes!
The recipe for these cupcakes is based on a pecan pie cake recipe from here and I just couldn't resist miniaturizing it (I know you are shocked). They turned out amazing! And the husband agrees- the recipe is definitely a winner!


I guess I should begin with what I should have started with- the filling. I was so excited about the cake part that I skipped right over the filling and the fact that it needed  to be refrigerated at least 4 hours (I know, shame on me...that's like the first rule of any form of cooking... read the recipe ALL the way through first...). It ended up being okay though, just made for some midnight baking and a few darker photos (sorry!).

The filling was not hard to make. I've made a few custard-type recipes now and feel pretty confident in how things should go in the process. The worst part was waiting for it to be ready so I could complete the cupcakes...hence why you should make it first (perhaps even the day before)!

Anyway, onto the cupcakes- start by crushing your pecans. I food processed mine with a little bit of sugar. It seemed that the smaller the pieces, the better they stuck to the pan (you will understand in a second). Generously butter your cupcake pan and then sprinkle on some pecan pieces. You most likely won't be able to get them all the way up the sides (at least I couldn't), but half way worked well enough.



Mix up the batter, fill the cups about 3/4 full and bake them for 15-18 minutes. I let them cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then slid a knife around the edges to loosen the cupcakes in order to remove them from the pan. I tried just inverting the pan, but I lost half of a bottom of a cupcake that way (and happily ate that piece). Using the knife was a much safer way of removing them.



Coat the sides of the cupcakes with dark corn syrup using a brush and allow to completely cool before moving onto the next step.

Once cool, cut holes in the cupcakes and fill with the custard.



Then top with cinnamon custard whipped cream, roasted pecans and caramel...mmm.


Enjoy!

Pecan Pie Cupcakes
Makes about 30 cupcakes
{adapted from  Jo and Sue}

For the pecan pie filling:

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions

Whisk together the first 6 ingredients in a large saucepan until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Continue whisking, and allow to boil for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and gently press a layer of plastic wrap on the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

 For the cupcakes:

Ingredients
  • 3 cups pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup dark corn syrup (to brush on after baked)
  • 1/4 cup roasted pecans, crushed (garnish)
  • caramel topping (garnish)
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter your cupcake pans. Divide 2 cups of the finely chopped pecans (I food processed mine with a teaspoon of sugar from the 2 cups of sugar needed in the recipe) between the cupcake cups, lining the bottom and sides of each cup with nuts the best you can.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and shortening on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, blending until just combined after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Gradually add to butter mixture, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed after each addition. Stir in remaining 1 cup of pecans.
  4. Transfer batter to a new bowl and clean mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of egg whites into the batter to "lighten" it up. Then gently fold in remaining egg whites.
  5. Fill prepared cups 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack (you may need to slide a knife around the sides of the cupcakes to loosen from the pan). Brush the sides of each cupcake with dark corn syrup and allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
For the cinnamon custard whipped cream frosting:

Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup pecan pie filling
Directions

Whip the cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and cinnamon, then continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Gently stir in 1 cup of the pecan pie filling until just combined.

Assembly

Make a hole in the cooled cupcakes using the cone method (cut a cone shape out of the top of the cupcake, then cut the pointed bottom off to leave you with a flat circular piece of cake to place back over the hole after filling). Fill the cupcakes with the pecan pie filling and then replace top of cupcake. Frost with cinnamon custard whipped cream. If desired, garnish with roasted, crushed pecans and drizzle with caramel.

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