Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Honey Pear Cupcakes with White Chocolate and Pistachio Buttercream Frosting



I recently took a cooking class called "The Art of Cupcakes," by Chef Wynton Mann (you can check out his site at, and it was so much fun!  We made five different types of incredibly delicious cupcakes: these, pumpkin cupcakes with maple and ginger buttercream frosting, banana nut cupcakes with cinnamon buttercream frosting, chocolate cupcakes with strawberry mascarpone cream cheese-filling and chocolate cream cheese frosting, and vanilla coffee cupcakes with tiramisu filling and coffee buttercream frosting.  I know you're probably drooling right now just reading over that. Imagine actually biting into them.  They were all sooo good...not one of them was even close to forgettable.  And none of the recipes are available online, so I guess you'll just have to make them all from my blog(:

By the way...of all the cupcakes we made in the class, these are my's a tie between these and the vanilla coffee cupcakes.  If you're not a coffee lover, then you'd like these pear ones better, though.  But if you do like coffee then, you'll definitely be all over the vanilla coffee cupcakes.  The reason I love these pear cupcakes is because they're the most unique and I'd never had anything like them before.  I'm also a huge sucker for white chocolate.  The frosting is seriously's the best frosting I've ever had; I know pistachios sound kind of weird in a frosting - especially mixed with white chocolate - but the flavor combination of these cupcakes are absolutely perfect.

Yield:  12 cupcakes

Honey Poached Pear:
1/4 cup honey
1 2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
2 large pears

For the Cupcakes:
1/2 cup butter
1 honey poached pear, mashed
1 honey poached pear, sliced
1/2 cup syrup from poached pear
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs

For the Frosting:
5 oz. white chocolate, melted
1/4 cup pistachios
4 oz. butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons milk (more or less)

For the poached pears:
Combine 3 cups water, honey, and sugar in a large saucepan.  Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod and add to saucepan.  Bring mixture to a boil and lower heat.  Simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.  Add the pears to the mixture and continue to simmer for 20 minutes or until pears are tender.  Remove the saucepan off the heat and strain the pears into a large bowl.  Pour the honey mixture over the pears and allow cooling before placing in the refrigerator.

For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 12 capacity muffin tray with cupcake liners.  In a large bowl sift together flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside.  Cream butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Beat well after each addition.  Alternately beat in the flour mixture and the honey syrup in three lots.  Fold in the mashed pear.  Evenly divide the cupcake batter into the cupcake liners and place a slice of the honey poached pear on top of the batter.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
Grind the pistachios with 1 tablespoon of confectioners' sugar in a food processor.  You can have the pistachios as fine or as course as you like.  Cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the lemon zest and the ground pistachios and beat until combined.  Add the icing sugar, lemon juice and the melted white chocolate. Beat the frosting for 3-5 minutes, adding the milk until you achieve the consistency you want.

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