Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pear and Cranberry Cupcakes

This recipe was inspired by a recipe that I found in the creatively named Cupcakes, by Janet Smith. She has some gorgeous pictures in her book and after making all of the sweet Halloween cupcakes last weekend, I wanted to do something a little less sweet, and maybe a smidge healthy, too. (Ok, who am I kidding. It's a cupcake!)

Originally, I chose to be inspired by Smith's pear and blackcurrant crumble cupcake recipe because the picture was so inviting. A pet peeve of mine, however, is when cookbooks use photographs of food that look completely different than how the recipe actually turns out. For example, the Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World book uses a buttercream frosting on the picture of their rosewater pistachio cupcakes when the recipe actually calls for a glaze! Grrr!

Anyway, I couldn't seem to find any blackcurrants in the grocery store, but I figured that pears and cranberries would go nicely together, especially this time of year.

Important note: The recipe that I have posted for the crumble is adapted from my Double Crumble Cupcakes. I tried to make a different crumble when I actually made the cupcakes that came out poorly, which is what is shown in the pictures. Therefore, when you make this at home your cupcakes should look different than what I show here.

Pear and Cranberry Cupcakes - Makes 18 cupcakes

for the crumble topping
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, out of the refrigerator but not quite room temperature
for the cuppies
  • 3 small ripe pears, peeled and chopped or one 15oz can of pears, strained and chopped
  • 1/2-2/3 cup of cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus some extra for powdering the top of the finished cupcakes if desired
  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. First, make the crumble! Add all of the dry crumble ingredients to a bowl and mix using a whisk.
  3. Cut the butter for the crumble into pieces and add it to the dry ingredients. Use an electric mixer on low speed to break the butter into "crumble" sized pieces, making sure that it mixes well with the dry ingredients. Don't be shy! Use your fingers if the mixer is unable to get the small enough pieces. Set crumble aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the pears, cranberries, and powdered sugar. Set aside.
  5. In a larger bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.
  6. Add the sugar to the butter. Mix well.
  7. Add the eggs one at a time to the butter, mixing well after each addition.
  8. Finally, add the flour, baking powder, and vanilla. Mix very well until everything is combined and smooth.
  9. Divide the mixer among the cupcake liners. This means that each liner will be filled about half way, or a little less.
  10. Bake for 6 minutes. Carefully remove the pans and divide the fruit evenly into each cupcake liner. The fruit should just about reach the top of the liner.
  11. Cover the fruit with the crumble mixture.
  12. Not forgetting that the pan is very hot (which I did! ouch), replace the cupcakes into the oven for another 13-17 minutes, or until the crumble looks a little brown. You'll be able to smell when it is ready.
  13. Allow the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack.
  14. Optional: Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top of the cupcakes just prior to serving.

These cupcakes are definitely best eaten while they are still warm. They are still good the day after you make them, but warm fruit is so difficult to beat!

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