First of all, I decided that I wanted a creamy center and a crunchy exterior so I went for a creme brulee custard that I flavored with pistachio paste and baked in mini muffin silicon pans. Then I made a very, very rich chocolate ganache with 70% chocolate that I used inside and to cover the outside of the mini cakes. For the cupcakes, I used buttercream with pistachio paste. To finish both of them, I added some chopped salted pistachios which really make a big difference. The contrast between the rich chocolate and the salted pistachios is what makes this cake in my opinion. I will briefly describe how I built each one and the recipes will follow at the end.
Chocolate Pistachio Cupcakes
Place the pistachio buttercream in a pastry bag fitted with a number 8 plain pastry tip. Pipe the buttercream on top of the cupcake making large swirls. Top with a generous amount of chopped salted pistachios.
Chocolate and Pistachio Petits Gateaux
Remove the cupcake from the baking paper. Using a cookie cutter, make a perfect cylinder and then cut the little cake into three layers horizontally. Place the first layer down, spread a thin layer of chocolate ganache on top, place a frozen disk of creme brulee on top, top with another disk of cake, more ganache, another layer of creme brulee and finish with the last layer of cake. Press down gently.
Hold the cake down gently and with a small offset spatula, ice the sides and top of the cake with ganache. Press the chopped pistachios into the sides and top of the cakes.
Here are the recipes for the different components…
Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes
makes about 30 cupcakes
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
In an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, brown sugar with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the melted chocolate and mix until well incorporated. Scrape the bowl. Add the vanilla and half of the buttermilk. Add the flour and baking soda, mix and finish with the remainder of the buttermilk. Mix until well incorporated. Scoop into baking cups and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
100 grams heavy cream
100 grams 70% chocolate, finely chopped
Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Mix slowly starting from the center until all incorporated and creamy. Let it cool.
Pistachio Creme Brulee
1 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
25 grams sugar
35 grams pistachio paste
Whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar and the pistachio paste. Slowly add the heavy cream and whisk. Strain through a fine sieve to eliminate any egg particles or pistachio chunks.
Pour into a mini muffin silicon pan that is on top of a sheetpan, about half an inch high. Add hot water to the pan and bake in a 300 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until center set. Drain water from the pan and place it in the freezer until the brulees harden.
50 grams egg whites
100 grams sugar
150 grams butter
50 grams pistachio paste
Mix the egg whites and the sugar and place them over a double boiler while you whisk them together. The sugar will start to dissolve and the egg whites will start to turn white and fluffy. Continue whisking until the egg whites feel hot to the touch.Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer and whip in high speed until light and fluffy and the bottom of the bowl doesn’t feel hot anymore. About 3-5 minutes.Start adding the softened butter by the tablespoon. Keep adding more butter as it is incorporated into the meringue. It might look like it is curdling but don’t worry, keep mixing. When is well mixed, add the pistachio paste.
The layer of creme brulee inside is so thin that it will thaw out in no time. Serve both the cupcakes and the petits gateaux at room temperature.
Post Script…. this photo describes it all.
Some mornings I wake up and I wonder if this little blog of mine has any meaning. I love my little blog. I treasure the time I devote to it everyday by thinking about what ingredients are available, what I am going to make with them, how I will photograph them. It really has changed my life. But at the same time, I wonder if this isn’t a bit too indulgent. The last few days I have been really thinking about it after reading this, this, this and in this one, Nadia expresses what I am feeling right now. I’m still trying to figure out how to create through food without the guilt that comes with it.
Thank you for reading…