Yes, it does involve shelling many a nut, but oh my stars is it worth it. (I shelled mine whilst watching Masterchef and yelling at the screen...)
The saltiness the pistachios means that these cupcakes hit a good balance, and are rich without being too sweet. Try to resist using Milky Bars, and go for a good-quality white chocolate instead: it'll make all the difference.
White Chocolate Cupcakes with Pistachio Cream (Makes 8-10)
For the cream:
- 150g pistachios, shelled
- 10g butter
- 100g icing sugar
- 100ml double cream
- 1 tablespoon Greek yoghurt
For the cakes:
- 250g butter
- 250g caster sugar
- 4 free-range eggs
- 250g self-raising flour
- 150ml Greek yoghurt
- 1 vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 100g white chocolate
- Blanch the pistachios for 2-3 minutes in boiling water. Drain and plunge back into cold water. Drain again.
- Pulse the nuts in a food processor or with a hand-blender until they begin to form a paste.
- Add the butter and continue to pulse until incorporated.
- Add the icing sugar a little at a time, according to taste, pulsing well in between. The nuts should have formed a thick, smooth-ish paste by this point.
- In a clean bowl, whip the double cream until stiff.
- Add the pistachio mixture to the cream and fold in, with the spoonful of yoghurt, until combined.
- Cover and chill in the fridge until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease the paper cupcake cases and place in a cupcake tin.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat the eggs then add to the butter a little at a time, with a teaspoonful of flour to stop the mixture from splitting.
- Stir in the Greek yoghurt and the vanilla seeds or extract.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture gradually, folding in gently with a metal spoon.
- Grate or finely chop the chocolate and fold it into the mixture. (I like leaving the occasional surprise chunk...)
- Dollop into the paper cases, filling them 2/3 full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and risen and a skewer comes out clean.
- Place on a wire rack to cool.
- When the cupcakes are completely cool, take a sharp knife and cut a small inverted cone shape out of the top of the cake (to make room for the cream!).
- Fill a piping bag with the pistachio cream and pipe into the cupcakes, swirling on top in a circle.
- Decorate with chopped pistachios and DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED.