Sunday, August 15, 2010

Peach Melba Cupcakes

Peach Melba is a dessert, invented by French chef Auguste Escoffier in the early 1890s to honour the Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. It essentially consists of peaches served with vanilla icecream and raspberry coulis.

So when I heard that this month's Cupcake Hero theme is raspberry (chosen by Amy at Cupcakes and Other Culinary Creations), and after I'd finished doing my happy dance and started thinking, the thinks that I was thinking were: What does raspberry go with? Chocolate. Yes. But really I wanted to do something a bit different. And then I thought of Peach Melba. I mean sure, it's called Peach Melba, but really it's the raspberries doing all the work. If it wasn't for them, it'd just be peaches-and-icecream.

So could I recreate it as a cupcake without using icecream? Well of course I could! After all, a really good vanilla icecream is just frozen and churned vanilla custard, right? So here we go:

Peach Melba Cupcakes - a peach and raspberry cupcake topped with a swirl of creme patissiere and a drizzle of raspberry coulis.

Cupcakes (adapted from Planet Cake's Vanilla Cupcake recipe)
150g dried peaches (if you have fresh ones available, please feel free to use them - or even better, poach them and then use them! If so, adjust quantity to cause maximum peach flavour whilst still maintaining structural integrity of cupcake. It's Winter here, so dried ones it is for me)
175g butter
160g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
100g plain flour
160g self raising flour
150mL milk
75g fresh or frozen raspberries

Modus Operandi
Place dried peaches into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for at least 20 minutes. Drain & discard liquid (or call it "juice" & feed it to your child). Obviously if you are using fresh or freshly poached peaches, disregard this first step.
Chop half the soaked peaches finely, and blitz the other half in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, and then add pureed peaches and beat until combined. Stir in chopped peaches. Fold in half the sifted flours, then the milk, then the rest of the flours.
Finally, very gently fold in the raspberries, trying not to break them up.
Spoon into cupcake papers, and bake at 180 degrees Celsius until they test clean with a skewer (around 18-20 minutes).

Cool cupcakes completely on a wire rack before adding toppings.

Creme Patissiere (probably best you make this bit first, actually):
1 cup milk
1 vanilla bean, split
3 egg yolks
85g caster sugar
25g cornflour
Single (pouring) cream, whipped to firm peaks
Modus Operandi
Scald milk with vanilla bean (ie bring it juuuust to the boil, then remove from heat).

Beat egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together until thick and pale. The mixture should form a "ribbon" when you lift the beaters, like this:

Pour in milk, whisking constantly. Whisk until smooth. In a clean saucepan, stir mixture over heat until it has thickened and come to a boil. Return to the mixing bowl and beat it hard for one minute. Sieve the mixture to remove any lumps (and also the vanilla bean). Refrigerate creme patissiere with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface to prevent a skin forming. Once it is cold, fold in sufficient whipped cream to achieve your desired texture (I used a 2:1 creme patissiere to cream volume ratio. For filling eclairs etc I usually use less cream than this, but for topping a cupcake I feel a lighter consistency is called for). Pipe or spoon onto cupcakes in place of frosting.
Raspberry Coulis
Blitz 250g fresh or frozen raspberries with 1/4 cup caster sugar, the juice of a lemon and a tablespoon of brandy. Sieve to remove seeds. Note: This will make waaaaay more coulis than you need for these cupcakes. I am quite certain that you will not find this a hardship. Feel free to make less if you have strange ideas like not wanting leftover raspberry coulis.

Immediately before serving cupcakes (or even at the table), spoon a little coulis over the top. Eat as soon as possible!
These are a bit messy to eat, but very yummy, and the creme patissiere (which is just heavenly) makes a nice change from frosting, especially when you're the sort of person who tends to bring cupcakes to everything. Which makes me happy, because "something a bit different" is what I was hoping for.
Mission accomplished, I think.


C&C Cakery said...

That creme patissiere with the raspberry dripping over looks heavenly. This is definitely my favourite in this month's competition. Good Luck!

Sugary Flower said...

Wow, thanks so much! There are some amazing competitors this time, though!

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