Peaches N' Steam Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 12 to 14 cupcakes
 
ingredients:
Roasted Peach Cupcakes
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup fresh. roasted peach puree (directions below)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¾ cup diced dried peaches, rehydrated in boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon very finely diced habanero pepper (more or less depending on how much heat you can handle)
Peach-Habanero Curd Filling
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch (cornstarch or arrowroot starch is fine too) *
  • 1 cup fresh peach puree (see directions in cupcake recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Peach Schnapps or peach liqueur of your choice
  • 6 Tablespoons of butter
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon diced habanero, ground into a paste (use a mortar and pestle or a knife with gloves)
Honey-Peach Cream Cheese Frosting**
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup peach nectar, reduced to ¼ cup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Candied Habanero Rings/Bows and Habanero Syrup Candy Toppers
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Approximately 4-6 Habanero peppers, depending on their size, cut into rings (push the seeds out, and try to scrape as much rib out as possible, from each ring (USING GLOVES! If you don't use gloves, do NOT rub your eyes until you've washed your hands thoroughly with lots of soap and hot water!!) If the ring breaks, you'll tie or twist these into 'bows' once they're done cooking in the syrup, prior to drying them).
directions:
Make the Roasted Peach Puree and Rehydrate Dried Peaches
  1. To roast the peaches for peach puree; preheat oven to 350 F. Cut peach(es) in half, remove the pit, and roast cut side down on a lightly greased or parchment or silpat lined baking sheet for 20-30 minutes, depending on how ripe your peaches are. Scoop out the roasted flesh, and puree or mash until somewhat smooth (Leave oven at 350). Set aside roasted peach puree/mash to cool. In the meantime, place the diced, dried peaches in a bowl and pour boiling water on top of them to cover. Let sit 20 minutes, then drain and cool in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.
Make the Roasted Peach Cupcakes
  1. Line the cups of a standard (12-cup) muffin pan with paper or foil liners. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; set aside. In a liquid-measuring cup, mix milk with the vanilla and almond extracts; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, or stand mixer with paddle, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. With mixer on low speed, add half of dry ingredients, followed by milk-vanilla/almond extract mixture, then remaining dry ingredients. Do not overmix.
  4. Combine the roasted peach puree/mash with the 2 tablespoons of flour, then stir gently into the batter until it's well disseminated throughout the batter. Fold in rehydrated, diced, dried peaches and the finely the diced Habanero pepper.
  5. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups (a small to medium ice-cream scoop is good for this), so each cupcake liner is about ⅔ full (You may have extra batter after filling each cupcake liner. DO NOT overfill each cupcake liner to compensate for this - just save it to make another 2-4 cupcakes, filling the empty muffin pan wells with water prior to baking, to insure even rising/baking).
  6. Bake at 350 F until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 21 to 27 minutes. Cool cupcakes 5 minutes in pan, then remove and cool completely on a rack before filling and frosting.
Make the Peach-Habanero Curd Filling
  1. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with the peach puree, sugar, lemon juice, tapioca starch and Peach Schnapps (if using).
  2. Place the bowl over a simmering pot of water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water, and stir until thickened (completely coats the back of a spoon).
  3. Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter, one tablespoon at a time until melted and combined.
  4. Push the curd through a strainer into another bowl. Stir in the habanero paste. Place some plastic wrap directly on top of the curd and chill for several hours.
Make the Honey Peach Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Pour peach nectar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on high heat, then continue to boil until the nectar is reduced to ¼ cup. It should be thick and syrupy. If you can't find peach nectar, substitute ¼ cup peach preserves or jam.
  2. Beat butter with the cream cheese until combined.
  3. Scrape down the bowl and add the reduced peach nectar and honey and continue beating until smooth and uniform.
  4. Add the sifted powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  5. Let chill for about an hour or two, covered tightly,
Make the Candied Habanero Rings/Bows and Habanero Syrup Candy Toppers
  1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Let come to a boil without stirring, then cook it to the soft or firm ball stage (Anywhere between 235 -250 F on a candy thermometer, unless you prefer the cold water test.
  2. Add the pepper rings and strips to the syrup, and let cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool. When cool, tie any of the broken rings into one knot bows ot twist some of the unbroken rings into bows, then place back into the syrup. Let sit overnight, then, using a slotted spoon, remove them to a parchment or silpat lined pan, separating them to dry. You want them somewhat sticky when set (think of those candied red and green maraschino cherries you find/use in Christmas fruit cake, that's the sticky factor you want on the pepper rings and bows). Reserve the Habanero syrup in the saucepan
  3. Cook down the reserved Habanero sugar syrup until it reaches the hard crack stage, 300 –310 F on a candy thermometer. Add some food color if desired. Turn off the heat, and let cool until thickened but still loose enough to drop (the consistency of honey is close to what you want). Drizzle candy designs on a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet. They should set up pretty quickly.
Assemble The Cupcakes
  1. Cut out about a 1-inch circle from the top of each cupcake, almost all the way to the bottom. Pull out the 'cupcake plug', then fill each with a heaping teaspoon or more of the Peach-Habanero curd. Cut off some of the cake from under each 'plug', so it doesn't squish down the curd (Unfortunately, I failed to do that, hence why my filling is 'squished' down into more of a line then a circle) when you place it back on top of the filled cupcake.
  2. Spread or pipe frosting on each cupcake, then top with a candied Habanero 'bow' or ring. Stick a hardened Habanero sugar drizzle into the frosting, if using.
notes:
* *I used the tapioca starch to insure a thicker, more stable curd since I didn't want to chance it being just runny enough to ooze out all over your brand new, expensive sweater, blouse or shirt on the first, second and third bite.
**Double the recipe if you want a lot of frosting - especially a somewhat high, decorative swirl, (if piped), on each cupcake. Unfortunately, cream cheese frosting doesn't hold a design as well as a buttercream or decorator's frosting, so put them in the fridge as soon you pipe on the frosting.
EXTRA NOTE - I achieved the striped frosting by brushing the inside of a disposable plastic pastry bag with red, orange and gold gel paste food color stripes before loading with the frosting. Parts of the frosting swirl that didn't have the gel color, I touched up with a fine brush dipped in that color.
ONE MORE EXTRA NOTE - You don't have to add the habanero to both the batter and curd. I usually just add it to the curd, depending on who I'm making them for.
Recipe by parsley sage sweet at http://www.parsleysagesweet.com/2008/08/12/who-doesnt-love-a-cupcake/