Just check out this gentle, unassuming cupcake. This is the kind of cupcake that you spy (trailside, apparently), and you have no idea what is actually happening here. Well, wait no longer, my friends.
The reason I chose to make this particular kind of cupcake is as you may know, I hail originally from Mobile, Alabama. Yeah, yeah, Georgia peaches and all and I get it, I do, but we in Mobile just quietly enjoy our own marvelous peaches and let everyone else have a hissy fit next door. The ones with the most to brag about are usually the quiet ones, you know...
My father came out west this past weekend (hi Papa!) and since my dad was instrumental in getting me to cook in the first place, I really wanted to make something he'd enjoy. I think this worked. The fact that my mom, my sister, my lovely niece Lily also liked them was all icing on the (cup)cake. My children were summarily not impressed. They rarely are. Baby Deirdre licked off the frosting (she is sitting beside me at the moment and interjected, "Because I love frosting!") and Liam suspiciously poked his (half) cupcake with a finger and scooped out the filling to leave it on the plate. "I don't like that stuff," he informed me. Sigh. Still, out of 18 cupcakes yesterday, I have two left this morning, and I do consider that a success.
Stone fruit, like peaches and plums and cherries, too, pair wall with almond, I don't know why, exactly; it just seems to be one of those things, like peanut butter and cheese crackers (stop judging me). I like a crunchy bottom to my cupcake, and shortbread is just about the easiest crust around, so I just subbed out half the flour with almond meal (found in the natural foods section of your grocery store or, out here, at Trader Joe's. Whee, Trader Joe's!).
Sometimes I am loathe to work with peaches because I don't love peeling them, The trick to that is to drop the whole peach into a large pot of boiling water and let it hang out there for about a minute. Remove the peach with a slotted spoon and then put it into a colander in the sink to let it cool a bit. The skins will slip right off; I usually don't even use a knife.
|For some reason this cupcake looks like it's at School Picture Day. I think it's the lighting.|
Oh wait, FIRST of all, sprinkle about half of a teaspoon of unflavored gelatin into about 1/8 cup of cold water. Let it bloom and then stir it in to dissolve. You're going to use this in the hot peach puree which is going to mix with the hot peach puree to go into the whipped cream for the frosting? Get that? And this way, your frosting won't melt all over the place. Great! And, moving right along...
~Peach Filling (and puree for frosting)~
Four pounds peaches, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Put the peaches into a large, heavy-bottom saucepan. Sprinkle in the cornstarch and toss well with the fruit to make sure all the pieces are coated. Add in the lemon juice, cinnamon, and almond extract, and stir to combine. Cook this mixture over medium heat until it is bubbly and thickened. Remove from heat. Reserve about two ladle's worth (maybe 3/4 of a cup) still hot and puree in another bowl, using a stick blender if you have one, or a food processor or regular blender if you do not. Once the reserved peach puree is smooth, add in the gelatin water and stir to combine well. Let cool completely before using. Let the remaining peach mixture cool completely as well.
~Almond Shortbread Crust for Cupcakes~
1 cup almond meal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 cups in muffin tins with foil cupcake liners. Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl. Add in the butter and mix with your (clean) fingertips until the mixture comes together and can hold its shape as a ball when you squeeze it together. Divide the mixture evenly among the cupcake cups and press down with your (clean! clean!) fingers to form an even layer.
Bake in the preheated oven for about ten minutes or until the shortbread is starting to brown. Remove the muffin tins from the oven and let them cool a little bit before filling with the cake batter which is coming up...
~White Cake Batter~
3 egg whites
1-1/4 cup milk3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract2-1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon butter, softened
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the sugar. Add the butter beat well into the dry ingredients. Add in the milk and mix. Gradually add in the egg white mixture.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with the batter. Bake for 15 - 18 minutes,
or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before filling and frosting.
To fill the cupcakes, cut out a cone-shaped portion out of the top of each cake. Slice off the excess cake from the cone (leaving the flat cap) and reserve the top. Fill the resulting hole with about a tablespoon of the cooled peach mixture(or however much you need). Replace the cap. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes, and then put in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill and set the filling.
~Peach Whipped Cream Frosting~
1-1/2 cups whipping cream
3/4 cups reserved peach puree, with gelatin, cooled
Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks, Turn off the electric beater. Using a spatula, carefully fold in the peach puree, a little at the time, until fully incorporated into the whipped cream. Be gentle!
As soon as the puree is combined with the whipped cream, pipe onto the cupcakes using a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Let the cream firm up in the refrigerator before serving if you can, or go ahead and serve and make a mess. You will definitely want to store these in the refrigerator, though.
This will make eighteen cupcakes. They will go quickly! Enjoy the rest of your summer!
|This cupcake seems to have been given accolades from a higher authority. Hmm...|