Sunday, May 26, 2013

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! 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 is all I have found, so far...

Ingredients for pistachio cream
  • 100 grams of chopped pistachio
  • 500 ml of milk
  • 3 egg yolks medium
  • 140 gr of caster sugar
  • 30 g of corn starch
  • 20 grams of flour 00 (alternatively you can use directly used 50 grams of flour 00)
Procedure for the pistachio cream
In a saucepan, simmer milk. Add the chopped pistachios in boiling milk and moved away from the fire. Cover with a lid and leave to infuse for about half an hour.
After this time, pass the milk with pistachio crumble in a colander and collect everything in a bowl.This will eliminate the pieces of chopped pistachio.
In a ricipiente apart, work the egg yolks with the sugar with the help of an electric mixer, until frothy.
Add the flour and cornstarch. Bring to a boil the milk previously filtered, removed from the heat and pour in the milk, leaving a glass aside. Mix well the two compounds.
Put everything on the stove and bring to boil it off, stirring constantly, simmer on low heat for a few minutes until the mixture thickens. Stir constantly to prevent lumps from forming, adding the glass of milk that you have previously set aside. Turn off the heat and leave to cool the cream, stirring occasionally. Once cooled, place the pistachio cream in the fridge for a couple of hours to rest covered with plastic wrap along the surface before use.
I have to admit that I'm not sure I will go to all of this trouble but will rather use this idea of the pistachio cream as a jumping off place for new recipe combinations instead. If any of you are adventurous enough to give this a try please do let me know how it worked out?
See you next week! I'll be putting up a Nautical Party Plan tomorrow on the Cherry Party Blog so I hope you take a few minutes to see how easy throwing a birthday party can be! Also, check us out on Facebook. We are giving tips and tricks for Brides and Grooms for the next two weeks!

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