Tag Archives: ginger

ginger v maple

Christmas means gingerbread. That’s a given. There was no way around it.

But my fridge demanded a clear out before I could get down & dirty with any more holiday baking…  and it seemed a crime to waste a bowl full of fluffy maple cream cheese frosting… So I went wild.  Gingerbread + Maple Frosting.  Yep, that’s right, I dared to pair two such mighty flavours… and while others might balk, I think it tasted divine.

Gingerbread Cupcakes (from Crazy About Cupcakes by Kristina Castella)
Makes 20-24

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup light molasses
2 teaspoons lemon zest (I omitted this)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup sour cream (I used yoghurt instead, as that was what I had on hand)
* I also added 2 tablespoons of chopped crystallized ginger for an extra spicy kick

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F (350 F for dark pans). Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.
2. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the egg, molasses, and lemon zest to creamed mixture. Beat well.
3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
4. Add portions of the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating with portions of the sour cream, until they are completely integrated, about 30 seconds.
5. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan on a wire rack.

*To be completely honest, I found these just a wee bit dense, slightly more muffin than cupcake-like, but the spices were perfect and I ended up gobbling 4 anyway..so give ’em a go and let me know what you think.  Ironically, I used this recipe instead of this month’s MSC pick because so many of my lovely bakemates found that one dense and dry. doh. I thought the sour cream / yoghurt would offer more moisture and a lighter texture, but perhaps not.  That’ll teach me to shirk my monthly duties. Although I wasn’t enamoured with the cupcakes themselves, I think the recipe works beautifully for whoopie pies.  To make whoopies (hyuk hyuk), line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and use a piping bag to pipe out 2 inch rounds of dough.  Bake them for about 5 minutes until puffy and golden at the edges (sorry, can’t remember exactly how long they took).  Fill with maple cream cheese frosting and enjoy xx

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

12 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. unsalted butter (cut into small chunks)
5-7 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbs. maple syrup
1 tsp. maple extract (if you’re lucky enough to have it!)

Bung the cream cheese and butter in the food processor and whizz til combined.  Add 3 cups of the powdered sugar along with the maple syrup and maple extract, then whizz again.  Add the rest of the powdered sugar cup by cup, processing after each addition, until you get the desired consistency

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Filed under cupcakes, frosting, holidays, Uncategorized, whoopie pie

Ginger {persimmon} spice.. zig-a-zig-ah

Apologies for the dead air folks.. I’m sooooo behind on SMS bakes at the moment, and I’m even struggling to find time (and space in the holiday baking calender) to get through my other monthly commitments.  A few days ago though, I opened the fruit drawer in the fridge to find a bucket load of soon-to-be overripe persimmons that I’d bought in a fit of madness a few weeks ago, so I made the time.  I baked a pie to celebrate Thanksgiving without spoiling my appetite for the numerous pumpkin and pecan slices I intend on devouring during TWO belated T-day celebrations I’m attending and hosting in the next few weeks.  I’ve never baked with persimmons before, but I have deliciously fond memories of kaki crumbles my mom used to make when I was growing up.  SO when I found a recipe for Persimmon Pie in the Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy-Beranbaum, I decided to pimp things up with a crumble topping.  I took the fact that Rose’s suggested crust was of the gingersnap cookie variety as implying that persimmon & ginger go hand in hand, so I also opted for the gingersnap crumble from the Sweet Melissa Baking Book.  (Just so I can pretend I’m keeping up with my SMS duties.. sort of…in some way…maybe?)

Now, I’m sure many of you savvy bakers, persimmon afficianados and gingersnap munchers are probably thinking – Gingersnap crust AND ginger crumble topping? Are you mad, June?  That subtle persimmon flavour will melt under so much heat! And you’re right.  Melt they did – into a creamy, spicy fruit layer which smacked more of ginger than persimmon, as one would expect, even though I doubled up on the persimmon chunks called for in Rose’s recipe.  But it worked.  Oddly, my boyfriend described the fruit filling as “chocolatey”, which made little sense to me – it tasted nothing like chocolate – but maybe he was referring to the smooth gooey texture..?  Plus, I can count the number of times I’ve seen him eat chocolate on one hand.. so there you go.   Anyway, this sweet & spicy pie was the perfect treat to warm things up as winter settles is – give it a try as written below if you love ginger.  You can find the gingersnap crumble recipe here on Jennifer’s lovely blog.  Alternatively, dial down the heat by leaving out the candied ginger in the filling or using a different crumble topping.

ignore the unsightly line across the crumble - that was the result of my crust cover..(which was completely unnecessary by the way)

Gingersnap Crumb Crust from the Pie and Pastry Bible – you can find the gingersnap nut crumb crust recipe that Rose suggested here

180 grams (1 1/2 cups) gingersnap crumbs

2 pinches salt

71 grams (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Process the cookies with the salt until you’re left with fine crumbs (about 20 seconds), then add the melted butter and pulse about 10 times, just until incorporated.  Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, begin by pressing the mixture into the bottom of the pie pan and partway up the sides.  To keep the crumbs from sticking to your fingers, it helps to place a piece of plastic wrap over the crumbs and press them through the wrap.  Be sure to press the bottom thoroughly so that the crumbs are evenly distributed.

Persimmon Pie – adapted from the Pie and Pastry Bible

5 small Fuyu persimmons, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch chunks (Rose actually suggests using 2, but I wanted a chunkier texture)

247 grams (1 cup) persimmon puree (I scooped out and processed the pulp of 3 overripe Fuyu’s, but you could also use ripe Hachiyas as Rose suggests)

160 grams (2/3 cup) milk

108 grams (1/2 cup) light brown sugar

1 large egg

94 grams (2/3 cup) bleached all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

14 grams (1 Tbs) unsalted butter, melted

33 grams (1/3 cup) walnut halves, chopped

2 tsp candied ginger, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F (or 325F if using a pyrex pie plate).  Set an oven rack just below the middle of the oven before preheating.
Process the persimmon puree with the milk, brown, sugar and egg for about 8 seconds or until smooth.  In a small bowl, whisk toether the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add it to the food processor and pulse about 8 times or until incorporated.  Add the butter and pulse about 4 imes or until incorporated.  Add the chopped persimmon, walnuts, candied ginger and pulse twice, just to incorporate.  (You’ll have bout 3 1/2 cups of filling).  Immediately pour the filling into the prepared pie crust (the acidity in the persimmon reacting with baking soda will cause the mixture to stiffen quickly.)  The filling will reach almost to the top.  Smooth the surface and sprinkle the crumble over the top (I probably had double the amount of crumble needed and although I managed to pat it all into a giant crumble mount, you might want to halve Melissa’s recipe..)
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the crumble has browned a bit and a thin knife blade inserted about an inch from the centre comes out clean.  The filling will have puffed out slightly but on cooling it will all settle.  Serve warm or at room temperature accompanied with creme fraiche or whipped cream.  (The pie can be reheated for 10 mins at 350F.  Be sure to keep the crust shielded with aluminum foil.)

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MSC: Pumpkin patch cupcakes

Linus: “Tonight the Great Pumpkin will rise out of the pumpkin patch. He flies through the air and brings toys to all the children of the world. He’ll come here because I have the most sincere pumpkin patch and he respects sincerity.”
Sally Brown: “That’s a good story.”
Linus: “You don’t believe the story of the Great Pumpkin? I thought little girls always believed everything that was told to them. I thought little girls were innocent and trusting.”

note the real pumpkin prop in the background.. slightly contrived, yessss...

note the background prop.. slightly contrived, yessss... and the 'forest green' food-colouring I used turned out to be more of a sea-green in my opinion, but oh well..

Well, I haven’t taken a bite yet, but I’m trusting that these are going to be phenomenal. Firstly, they’re cream-cheese frosted, which always spells ‘winner’.  Secondly, the cakes themselves smell fantastic, rose to a perfect dome and look deliciously moist.  But just looking gets harder and harder… I baked these up to take over to a friend’s house this evening (that way, I can only eat as many as I can stuff my face with in one go), but unfortunately she’s going through a rough time, so I’ve put ’em on ice for now.  Literally.  Which is why I’ve got less than a patch at the moment…
But it’s a sincere patch! You don’t get much more sincere than cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  And although I thought the marzipan pumpkins would be a nightmare to make (especially as I don’t have a leaf cutter.. clearly..) it was actually an easy task and I’ve come away inspired to skill up on the ol’ sugarcraft.. and to revisit the fun of play dough.

obviously, I had no leaf cutter and had to play it free style

obviously, I had no leaf cutter and had to play it free style

Somehow, living overseas for most of my life, I’ve developed a passion obsession for any and every tacky holiday tradition – the kitscher (read: tackier), the better.  So this was a perfect pick to kick start the halloween season.  The cupcakes were simple enough to put together, but I had trouble – as usual – getting my hands on pumpkin puree over here.  I made my annual pitstop at Selfridges (the only source of Libby’s 100% I’ve come across in London – as obscenely priced as it is) only to be told that they wouldn’t be receiving the shipment for another few weeks.  Eventually, I overcame the horror and resigned myself to missing out on this one.  (No time for DIY pumpkin puree).
Luckily, and despite having no faith whatsoever, I asked at my local (giant) Waitrose where – lo and behold – the fantastic saleswoman produced the (non-Libby’s) goods after a lengthy search.
Right, er, that’s my long-winded way of giving this bake a 2/5 for availability of ingredients (when living overseas and trying to survive the ‘great pumpkin crisis’ of 2009, apparently) and a 5/5 for simplicity. I can’t comment YET on taste or texture combo.. but I’m predicting high scores.  Big thanks to ‘What the Whisk’ Kim for this perfect seasonal pick, and please check out the other patches here.

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Filed under cupcakes, holidays, martha stewart cupcakes