Thursday, August 7, 2008

Peaches for Me

One of the things I get to take advantage of while I’m in Virginia is the proximity of fresh peaches. In Chicago, the only place to find them is the grocery store, but here, you can go pick them yourself. So today I took some friends and went peach picking at a local orchard. It was great, I brought home pounds of fresh peaches. With some of them, I decided to make peach cupcakes. I wanted to use the same basic recipe that I used for the cantaloupe cupcakes, but with peach in place of the melon. I tried to make burnt caramel frosting again, but apparently didn’t burn my caramel quite enough, it was still good, but not as good as the time I made the cantaloupe cupcakes. Interestingly, these cupcakes were not nearly as sticky as the cantaloupe cupcakes. I haven’t actually tried the cupcakes yet, but I will update this with a review of the cupcakes once I’ve actually eaten some.

Update: My friends and I ate these last night at an Olympics party (if you didn't watch them, the opening ceremonies were pretty cool), and they got positive reviews from everybody. The frosting was just slightly salty, and complemented the peachyness of the cupcake and curd filling well. If you want something that is super peachy, eat a peach, but these will do in just fine for a peach cupcake.

Peach Cupcakes (I used the cake recipe from Cupcake Bakeshop)

Makes 15 cupcakes

1 ½ cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/8 cup vegetable oil
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp lemon zest
½ cup pureed peach
¾ cup diced peaches

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar.

2. In a separate bowl beat together the eggs, oil, and vanilla.

3. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and beat to combine. The batter will be very dry at this point, don’t worry.

4. Whisk in the pureed peach. Fold in the diced peach.

5. Fill cupcake liners with a ¼ cup measure. Bake cupcakes for ~20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean (the recipe at cupcake bakeshop says to bake for 30 minutes). These cupcakes are very moist, and somewhat sticky on top.

Peach Curd

Makes about a cup

3 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
½ cup peach puree
½ tsp lemon
3 Tbs butter, cut into chunks

1. Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, peach puree, and lemon juice. Place the mixture over a double boiler and begin heating.

2. Stirring constantly, heat the mixture until it is hot to the touch, or 170 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Make sure you don’t not let the mixture get to boiling.

3. Remove the mixture from the heat, and let it sit for 30 seconds. Stir the butter into the curd until it melts. Put the curd into the fridge to let it set.

Salted Caramel Frosting (also from the Cupcake Bakeshop)

Makes 3-4 cups

4 Tbs water
1 cup sugar
2 Tbs light corn syrup
½ cup heavy cream
2 Tbs butter
½ tsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
8 oz. fat free cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar

3 cups powdered sugar (the bakeshop recipe uses 5-6 cups, but I thought three was plenty.

1. Stir together the water, sugar and corn syrup in a deep saucepan, and cook covered over medium heat for three minutes

2. Turn the heat up to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil. You should no longer stir the caramel, but you can shake it to ensure even heating (I tried shaking to no effect.

3. Cook until the caramel turns an even amber color (to make it burnt, let at least some of the caramel turn dark brown, see the picture below to see what mine looked like). Remove the caramel from the heat and let it sit for 30 seconds.

4. THIS PART IS DANGEROUS. Wearing oven mitts and standing back, pour in the heavy cream. The caramel will bubble up a lot. Carefully stir in the 2 Tbs butter, lemon juice, and salt.

5. Pour off the caramel into a bowl, and let it sit until it is cooled and thickened. At least 20-30 minutes.

6. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and two sticks of butter until fluffy. Beat in the powdered sugar until fully combined. Then beat in the caramel until fully combined.


Using the cone method, fill each cupcake with ~ 2 tsp of peach curd. Frost the cupcakes with the salted caramel frosting, and top with a wedge of peach.

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