Monday, April 28, 2008
Week 17: Earth Day; Ginger Pear Cupcake with Lingonberry Filling Ginger Whipped Cream with a Fresh Poached Pear and Mint
Hi friends! I made this spectacular cupcake last week for Earth Day, April 22nd. I am just now getting an opportunity to post the recipe and pictures before I get started on this week's cupcake!
I had so much fun coming up with this flavorful combination. The essence of the cupcake is zesty and fresh. The crispness of the pears gives this cupcake a bit of spiciness. I filled the center with Scandinavian lingonberries and topped them with fresh ginger whipped cream, a poached pear and mint. Not only is this a pretty cupcake ~ but it tastes fabulous!!
I was asked several times "What in the world is a lingonberry?" When I lived in Illinois, I was introduced to this versatile fruit. I have tasted lingonberries on turkey sandwiches, in many desserts, in beverages such as lemonades and limeades. It is truly one of the most versatile fruits. If you have a chance to try this recipe, I believe you will enjoy it very much. Once you taste it - you will wonder where it has been all your life! A lingonberry is a small red berry, very much like a cranberry, but sweeter, not quite as tart. It is often called a "cowberry" and is a member of the cranberry family. It grows mainly in Scandinavia but can be found in parts of the United States in Maine and also in Canada.
I was able to find jars of lingonberries in the jelly aisle of Adams Fairacre Farms Grocery. I absolutely love this grocery store as they have so many wonderful varieties of specialty jams and jellies; their combinations often inspire me. The earthy combination of ginger and pears is delicious. The Cupcake Hero April theme is "Earth Day" I made it a point to use fresh grated organic ginger, organic buttermilk and for a twist I added some organic pear juice which gave some bite to the zesty flavor of the batter. I also made it a point to begin using environmentally friendly baking products in The Cupcakery. There is a line called IF YOU CARE® which has an entire line of baking products dedicated to helping bakers save the environment from additional pollution. I used the large baking cups, which are made from 100% unbleached, heavy duty greaseproof paper and can be used without a muffin pan. No greasing is needed! The baking cups are microwave-safe and will not affect the taste of the baked goods. They not only reduce the amount of chlorine in the environment, they also are landfill safe and non-toxic when incinerated. We can all do our part to "go green" - I even used a touch of green food coloring in the ginger whipped cream! It is divine!!
Happy Earth Day friends!
Ginger Pear Cupcakes
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. peeled, grated ginger
3 eggs, from vegetarian fed chickens
2/3 cup molasses
3 cups 100% organic, unbleached all-purpose flour (Recommend King Arthur)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup organic pear nectar
1. Preheat oven 325° degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.
2. Cut butter into 1" pieces and combine with brown sugar in large bowl. With a stand mixer (or electric mixer) cream on medium speed for 6 minutes. Butter will become smooth and pale.
3. Add the grated ginger and mix for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and add pear nectar.
4. Switch mixer to low speed and add eggs one at a time making sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next.
5. Add the molasses until completely mixed in. (The mixture will look like it is falling apart but it will come apart when the dry ingredients are added.)
6. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl, and toss together with your hands.
7. Add flour mixture and buttermilk to the batter, mixing with rubber spatula just until dry ingredients are absorbed. Be careful not to overmix.
8. Divide batter among paper liners. Bake 17-21 minutes or until toothpick comes out of the center clean.
9. VERY IMPORTANT to cool completely before piping Lingonberry Danish Spread into the center of cupcakes and frosting with Ginger Whipped Cream.
Lingonberry Danish Spread
1. Fill piping bag and fit with tip to pipe the lingonberry spread into the center of completely cooled cupcakes.
2. Once you have filled cupcakes set aside and top with ginger whipped cream, freash, poached pear and mint.
Ginger Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 tsp. ground ginger
Wilton Gel "Willow Green" Food Coloring
1. Combine ingredients in a cold stainless steel bowl. Mix with an electric mixer with whisk attachment, on medium until soft peaks form. Be careful not to overmix as your whipped cream could turn buttery.
2. Add Wilton gel food coloring to achieve desired pastel color.
3. Once your soft peaks form, transfer whipped cream to piping bags, carefully, and pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes.
4. Top with freshly sliced, poached pear and sprig of mint.