I’m a strong believer that regional cuisines are meant to be made authentically when you’re making them the first time.. But once you’ve found a knack for how the flavours of that region taste and where they fit into the dishes of that area, I say it’s fair game to start having some fun.
When I was tasked with creating a cupcake recipe for a Middle Eastern wedding (which happened to fall through in the end, but I was still happy to have a new recipe up my sleeve!), I looked immediately to the flavours of Baklava. Sweet and floral notes lended from the addition of rosewater, buttery and nutty from the pistachios… the perfect balance. I wasn’t overly keen on serving baklava to the guests, not because it isn’t wonderful, but more because it’s not very pretty, so I decided to play with the flavours and create something a little different.
These Pistachio-Rosewater cupcakes are as beautiful to look at, with their soft pink icing and bright green pistachio garnish, as they are to gobble up. I admit, though not much of a sweets person, I easily managed to cram about 6 of them into my mouth before I had a chance to offer samples to the bride and groom and their family. Whoopsie!
If you’re looking for a touch of the middle east in cake form, these are just the treat for you!
Rosewater Pistachio Cupcakes
Rosewater can be found at most Middle Eastern Markets or well stocked grocery stores.
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch fine grain salt
3 tbsp ground pistachios
3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 egg, room temperature
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp rosewater (1 if you like very subtle, 2 if you like things rosier)
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tbsp milk
5 drops red food colouring
2 drops vanilla extract
1 tsp rosewater
1 tbsp ground pistachios
Preheat oven to 325. Line a 12-cup muffin tray with paper liners.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pistachios. Add the butter and beat on medium until it becomes sandy in texture.
Whisk the milk, egg, vanilla and rosewater. Add it to dry ingredients in three shots, mixing on medium between each addition. Once all the wet ingredients are in, mix on medium-high speed for 15 seconds.
Spoon into liners until 2/3s full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just barely golden brown. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the centre of cupcakes. If it comes out clean, they are cooked. If any wet batter comes out, bake for a few more minutes.
Remove from muffin-tin and let cool on a wire rack.
Beat sugar and butter together over medium-high speed until blended and smooth. Add the milk, food colouring, pistachios and vanilla. Beat again until blended scraping the bottom of the bowl mid-way through. If icing is too thin, add more sugar. If too thick, add more milk a teaspoon at a time. Pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with ground pistachios and top with a whole one.
***Guest Blogger: Kelly Brisson of The Gouda Life