Happy Sunday and, for those of us in America, Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
As I mentioned last week, I just got back from Sicily. Whenever we travel I try to bring something back that I can use in baking. This time is was this wonderful pastry cream called Crema di Pistachio. Unlike most pastry creams it's not too sweet. I got a jar of this for about $10 at a little shop on Ortigia Island in Siracusa. Yes, a definite treat. Unfortunately, to buy it here is much much more expensive so I'm just going to have to learn how to make it from scratch!
Now...how to use it. When I first tasted this heavenly stuff it was just on a piece of bread. I knew from that first second that I adored it and had to take a jar home. It is a thick paste but I figured I could mix it with butter cream, if necessary, to use it for cakes or just use it as it is for cookies. Then I had an idea...filling for cupcakes!
I baked a simple yellow cake recipe into cupcakes and let them completely cool. Then, with a round cutter but you could just scoop with a small spoon, I hollowed out about an inch of the center of the cupcake. I filled this with the undiluted pistachio cream and then piped on a soft butter cream/whipped cream mixture and crushed up roasted, salted pistachios to put on top. I really wanted the sweet/salty mixture to set off the cream hidden inside. It was simply divine!
Now I realize that picking up a jar of pistachio cream is going to be next to impossible for you so I had a few ideas to use as substitutions. Nutella was my first thought. Fill the cupcake with the nutella, top with a soft butter cream and then crush up some salted hazelnuts. If you have a good almond butter you can also mix that with some melted chocolate and then top the cupcake with crushed roasted salted almonds. The idea is to have a nut butter base that has been sweetened up a bit and then top the cupcake with a salty nut that's been crushed up for easy eating.
I'm going to be trying some of these ideas out over the next few weeks and let you all know how my little experiments turn out..I have a feeling my family will NOT be complaining!
For those hoping to make the Pistachio Cream...here is all I have found, so far...