Monday, February 14, 2011

Ginger Chocolate Pear Cupcakes

Happy Valentine's Day! Now that I have a genuinely delicious treat to share with you I feel OK about proclaiming that.

This Valentine's Day I decided to treat myself. I started brainstorming what sort of chocolate-y concoction I'd come up with, all for me since my husband's not a fan of the stuff. I'm not sure where I got the idea to combine chocolate, ginger, and pear but it seemed so appealing that it was only a matter of figuring out how to incorporate those three ingredients into a cupcake.

Since it was for a holiday I could go all out so I dug out my trusty copy of Death By Chocolate and snagged the recipe for chocolate cupcakes and some tips on how to make the ganache filling. I settled on a high-quality chocolate truffle filling infused with fresh ginger flavor and a little crunch from nuggets of candied ginger. For the frosting I wound up with a buttercream subtly flavored with a hint of pear and more spicy ginger. Although I'd hoped the pear flavor would be stronger I think the overall combination works so well that I won't complain one bit about my Valentine's Day treat. Not that I'd have time to complain since I'm busy scarfing down these babies.

Granny Twichells Secret Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
Recipe adapted from Death By Chocolate by Marcel Desaulniers

10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 18 cupcake wells with paper liners.
2) Heat 1 inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium heat. Place 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, 1 cup heavy cream and 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate in the top half of the double boiler. tightly cover with plastic wrap. Allow to heat for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Set aside until needed.
3) Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on medium until lemon-colored and slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.
4) Add the melted chocolate mixture and beat on medium for 15 to 20 seconds more.
5) Add the cake flour and baking soda and beat on low for 10 seconds. Increase to medium and beat for an additional 10 seconds. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Use a rubber spatula and thoroughly combine the batter.
6) Evenly divide the batter among 18 bake cups, filling the cups to within 1/4 below the rim. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in pan for ten minutes. Remove from pan and completely cool cupcakes on wire rack.

Ginger Chocolate Ganache Filling
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons shredded ginger
3 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger

Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. In a heavy saucepan, heat cream and shredded ginger over medium heat until almost boiling. Pour through a strainer over chocolate. Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, squeeze/press as much liquid out of the shredded ginger left in the strainer into the chocolate mixture. Let chocolate sit for five minutes, then whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in chopped candied ginger.

Using the cone method, fill each cooled cupcake with ganache. You may have some extra that can be kept at room temperature until firm enough to roll into truffles. Or just eat it with a spoon. I'll won't tell. :)

Ginger Pear Buttercream
9.6 ounce can pear nectar
1 1/2 tablespoons shredded ginger
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar

1) In a small saucepan, heat pear nectar over medium high heat until boiling. Continue to boil, stirring often, until reduced to a thin syrup, ten to fifteen minutes. Mixture will thicken more as it cools.
2) Pour into a small bowl. Place a strainer above the bowl and, using your fingers or the back of a spoon, squeeze/press as much liquid out of the shredded ginger into the pear syrup. Discard shredded ginger. Stir pear mixture to combine and let cool to room temperature.
3) In a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter 40 seconds. Add pear mixture, vanilla, and 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and gradually add more powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.



HoosierHomemade said...

These look divine! Love chocolate!
Thanks for sharing them on Cupcake Tuesday!

Lisa said...

Wow, these cupcakes sound better and look prettier than what you can get at a bakery. I'm loving your idea of that ginger ganache, yummy.

Lisa said...

Thanks so much for linking these up to Sweets for a Saturday.