The quintessential French dessert. My all-time favourite dessert. Can I disappoint traditionalists twice in one week? Heck yes, I can. First in a tart, and now in a cupcake.
Ingredients (makes 12)
Recipe adapted from Indulgence Cupcakes
185 gms unsalted butter, softened
160 gms caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
125 gms self-raising flour
30 gms plain flour
125 mls milk
275 mls milk
3 egg yolks
55 gms caster sugar
2 tbsps plain flour
extra caster sugar, for burning
Preheat oven to 180C. Place 12 cupcake cases in a 12 capacity cupcake tin.
Beat the sugar, butter and vanilla together in an electric mixer until light and creamy. Add the eggs, onw at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flours together and fold through the butter mixture alternately with the milk. Divide the mixture evenly among the cases. Bake for 15 minutes until golden, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Remove cakes from tin immediately and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the custard filling, place the milk in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat. Beat the egg yolks, sugar and flour until thick and pale. Gradually whisk in the milk. Return to the saucepan over a low heat and stir until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly while preparing the cupcakes to be filled.
Using a small, sharp knife, cut a hole our of each cake, leaving about a 1cm border at the edge. Discard (or eat!) cake middles. Fill the cavity of each cake with about 2 tsps custard. Refrigerate until custard is set.
Sprinkle the custard of each cake with caster sugar, and caramelise with a culinary torch until crispy and golden. Beware of the cupcake liner! If your cupcake liners sit quite high, it may be best to remove the cakes from the cases when using the torch.
Because of the relatively high egg content, these cakes are so lovely and dense, and work wonderfully with the silky custard and crunchy crust. A nice change from what people traditionally expect a cupcake to be.
These really are best eaten immediately to enjoy the crack of the caramelised sugar. Similar to the crème brûlée tarts, you can always store extra cupcakes in the fridge and caramelise when ready for consumption.
Recommended baking soundtrack: Françoise Hardy - Comment Te Dire Adieu