Sunday, 2 October 2011

Pear, Honey and White Chocolate Cupcakes

Pears are at the peak of their season right now, and while it's a long season and they keep well they're so much nicer when they haven't been siting around ages. I even picked mine from the orchard a few hours ago, so mine are really fresh. Cupcakes are always a good way to use up stuff. If you've got loads of fruit make a fruit cupcake. That's what I did last year when I had a glut of pears but this year I'm doing it for taste. Plus, who doesn't like cupcakes? The honey goes well with the pears and vanilla but make sure you use a proper honey like heather or clover, not just the nondescript squeezy stuff in those bottles. The cupcake overall has a very moist (from the honey) texture, and quite autumnal flavors. They were so good I'm gonna make some more to bring to the harvest festival. Mmmm... cupcakes!

Makes 10 cupcakes

For the cake batter:
3.5 oz or 100g softened butter
1/3 cup & 2 tbsp or 125g sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp honey
3/4 & 2/3 cup or 150g self-raising flour

For the compote and poached pears:
4 firm pears
2 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
1/4 cup or 50g brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
a strip of orange zest

For the frosting:
1 cup or 200g mascarpone
2 tsp honey
5 oz or 150g unsalted butter
3/4 cup or 75g icing/confectioners sugar
3.5 oz or 100g white chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Peel the pears and put them in a pan with the crushed coriander seeds, sugar, honey and zest with enough water to just leave the stem above the water. Simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 190 C/375 F and line a cupcake tin with 10 cases. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix the honey and eggs together until the honey is combined then add the egg mixture to the butter bit by bit taking care not to curdle the mixture, although don't worry to much if you do. Sift in the flour and fold lightly.  Divide between the cases a putting the pear chunks at the bottom of each case. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

3. Take 2 pears and core them then chop them into small chunks reserving 10 slices for a garnish. Core the three remaining pears and put them in a pan to cook down. Once cooked to a puree, blend with a blender until smooth.

4. Melt the chocolate then leave to cool. Beat the mascarpone, honey and butter together with the icing sugar until smooth. Add the chocolate and vanilla and beat again to combine.

5. Once cool, make a hole in the tops of the cupcakes and fill with some of the compote. Pipe on the frosting and garnish with the poached pear.

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