Sunken, Crackle–Top Mocha Cupcakes with Toasted Pistachio Gelato and Burnt Caramel Drizzle
This recipe appeared in Celebrate with Ice Cream Cupcakes! on 15 Jun 2011
Saveur’s Pistachio Gelato (recipe below)
Martha Stewart’s Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes (recipe below)
Recchiuti Burnt Caramel Sauce
Salted, toasted pistachio nuts
(adapted from Saveur)
Baker’s Note: Start this recipe the day before serving.
4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups shelled unsalted pistachios, finely ground in a food processor or spice mill (I used Trader Joe’s Dry Roasted Unsalted Pistachios)
Optional: few drops of yellow and green food coloring
Bring 3 cups of the milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then remove from heat. Combine remaining 1 cup milk, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl, then stir into hot milk. Return pan to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens slightly, 8–10 minutes.
Put pistachios into a large bowl and stir in hot milk mixture. Set aside to let cool, stirring often, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Note: Do not shorten the marinating time. You’ll get a more intense pistachio flavor the longer it sits.
Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing ground pistachios with the back of a wooden spoon. Discard pistachios. Process mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.
Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes
(adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped (or 1–1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips)
6 large eggs separated, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
Optional: 1/4 cup Kahlua
Preheat oven to 275° F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners (see note below). Melt butter, chocolate and Kahlua (if using) together in a large heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water. Stir to combine, then remove bowl from heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in egg yolks.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until peaks are stiff and glossy but not dry (do not overbeat). Whisk one quarter of the beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten; gently fold mixture into remaining whites.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three–quarters full. Baker’s Note: These cupcakes are flourless and bake up like little soufflés. I decided to use the 3.25 ounce soufflé cups I sometimes use for baking regular cupcakes, which worked beautifully for this recipe. They puff straight up, then collapse immediately after taking them from the oven (creating the sunken, crackly tops that are perfect for filling with ice cream). Just line the soufflé cups up on a cookie sheet and you can bake them all at once. I got 20 cupcakes from this amount of batter.
Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cupcakes are just set in centers, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes (their centers will sink). Cupcakes are best eaten the same day they are baked; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
Assembly for Sunken, Crackle–Top Mocha Cupcakes with Toasted Pistachio Gelato and Burnt Caramel Drizzle:
Place a scoop of gelato in the sunken area of each cupcake. Top with a shot of whipped cream and drizzle with warm caramel sauce. Finish with a sprinkling of pistachio nuts.
WI wine recommendation: This dessert calls for a dessert wine. If you prefer a relatively light dessert wine, try a Brachetto d’Acqui. Alternatively, a great choice is a sparkler such as Cremant D’Alsace Rose, Dom. Allimant-Laugner N.V., which has a light rose color and a crisp, zesty flavor.