Saturday, June 4, 2011

banana cupcakes with bourbon creme patisserie

My flatmate had some bananas that were just a little bit too ripe for her so I used them to make cupcakes. That's pretty much it. Oh, and they were delicious. They had a lovely crumb and stayed rather moist for a couple of days after baking. The creme patisserie is just amazing.

Now I took a bajillion photos as I went along so I'm doing the classic step-by-step-food-blog-post. Here's what happened:

The bananas.  I mashed up 3/4 cup worth (about 3) and set aside.

Softened butter is made all smooth and nice.

Sugar added to butter and beaten until fluffy. It's def not fluffy enough in this pic but I really can't ever be bothered doing a stellar creaming job when I'm only using a wooden spoon!

Cheap vanilla essence added to butter - I always use more because the flavour isn't as good as vanilla extract. I used to not really care about using nice vanilla stuff until I compared the cheap stuff with Mum's homemade vanilla extract - spoilt for life.

Adding the eggs and banana to the butter will most probably make the mixture curdle but I didn't stress because...

Adding the salted flour...

Sorted that all out :)

Now, into the liners and off to the oven!

And here they are, all cooked and cooling.

And now for the custard! I've made cupcakes before with custard frosting but this recipe is definitely tops. In go the yolks and sugar.

Whisking in the cream and milk makes for a runny mix. But after exactly six minutes of whisking, the custard suddenly thickened and voila! I was working with...

So when it thickens? Ohhhh yum...

These pastry scrapers are fantastic for pushing anything through sieves.

Plastic wrap would be ideal but in a pinch, plastic does the job.

After an hour in the fridge, the frosting is ready to put on the cupcakes :)

Banana Cupcakes with Bourbon Creme Patisserie
Adapted from Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito's first book, Baked.

This recipe made me 8 cupcakes but it could make more depending on the size of cups. The sugar and flour amounts in the cupcakes seem a little odd but it all works! I had a little creme patisserie/pastry cream/custard leftover but it was never a burden :) Also the bourbon is quite subtle so next time I'll probably put a little more in. Instead of bourbon, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract would create a vanilla creme patisserie. 

3/4 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 3)
1 cup plus 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3oz/90g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 cup buttermilk or 1/4 cup milk with 3/4 teaspoon vinegar mixed in and left to kind of curdle for about 5 minutes

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Line a cupcake pan with 8 cupcake liners.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter until smooth, add the sugar and beat until fluffy and light in colour. Stir in the eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined and then stir in the bananas until also thoroughly mixed in. Don't panic if the mixture curdles because it'll calm down when the dry ingredients are added to it.

Gently fold in 1/2 of the flour mixture, then fold in the buttermilk, and finish by folding in the final flour mixture.

Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden brown and a cake tester/skewer comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes until cool.

Bourbon Creme Patisserie
1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup full-fat cream
6 large egg yolks at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons bourbon

Set a sieve up over a medium bowl.

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer and keep warm.

In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt together until the mixture is pale, about 1 minute. While whisking the yolk mixture, slowly pour half of the cream mixture into the yolk mix. Pour the creamy yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the yolk mix and cook over a medium heat, always whisking, until it thickens, about 6 minutes (you can pretty much set a timer).

When thick, take the creme patisserie off the heat and whisk in the bourbon. Strain it through the sieve, cover with plastic wrap right onto the surface of the creme patisserie, and place it in the fridge for an hour, or until chilled.

8 dried banana chips or fresh banana slices

Pipe the chilled creme patisserie onto the cupcakes and top with a dried banana chip or a slice of fresh banana.

These cupcakes need to be stored in the fridge because of the creme patisserie.


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