A Sweet and Salty Spin on Spumoni

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Pistachios…a sweet and salty snack.  Sweet and salty flavors are definitely one of my favorites; peanut butter and chocolate, salted caramel anything, on and on…. Pistachios fall into this category also.  Pistachios are the nut found on a Pistacia vera tree, and are a member of the cashew family.  The taste is salty, similar to a cashew in its creaminess, and slightly sweet.  It is actually very hard to describe, it’s almost an emotional kind of taste – you know it when you taste it!  It is unique.  Spumoni is a dessert that showcases pistachios; layers of chocolate, pistachio and cherry ice cream.  Delizioso!

For this next cupcake in my journey, Iced Pistachio Cupcakes, I wanted to remain true to the recipe but I also wanted to put my own spin on it.  So, half of the cupcakes are made exactly according to the recipe and the other half are topped with my interpretation of Italian spumoni.  If you would like the recipe, click here (courtesy of My Bare Cupboard).

Mise en place

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Before actually starting the recipe, some prep work needed to be done.  First, I ground pistachios to a paste.  Then I coarsely chopped additional pistachios.

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Once this prep work was done I could get started.  I creamed together butter, cream cheese and the pistachio paste.  After this mixture was fluffy, I added sugar which I beat in until smooth.  Eggs were next, one at a time, and beaten until incorporated.  The final steps were to add vanilla bean paste, a drop of pistachio oil, flour and salt.

I added the coarsely chopped pistachios by hand to the batter.  That’s it!  It was pretty easy once the grinding and chopping were done.

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Here they are out of the oven.  Hmmmm…. very flat.  But again, as in the previous few recipes, no leavening was used.photo 2 (2)

Martha’s recipe calls for a simple confectioners sugar glaze to go on top of the cupcakes.  Very easy, just confectioners sugar, cream, lemon juice and a tiny bit of vanilla.  This is what I used for half of the cupcakes.   Here is how they turned out.photo 4 (2)

The other half of the cupcakes received a special topping:  Cherry glaze, pistachio cream cheese frosting and a chocolate drizzle.

For the cherry glaze, I simmered cherries and a mixture of sugar and water for about 20 minutes.  I strained the mixture, tossed away the cherries and added cherry preserves to the cherry liquid.  I simmered this for a while until it was thick and then dipped the cupcakes in it.

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Atop the cherry glaze, I piped a pistachio cream cheese frosting.  Very simple, I just added pistachio paste to a regular cream cheese icing.  Finally, I drizzled chocolate ganache on top of the frosting.  Here is the final product.

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Now, the taste:  Delicious and very different.  Each cupcake had its own personality.  The basic one was moist, very dense (again, much like a muffin), sweet, salty and crunchy.   The spumoni cupcake was also moist and dense, but had an added dimension from the cherry and the chocolate.   They were very different cupcakes, both delectable!

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If you like sweet and salty, try this!

Next time: Apricot-Glazed Black and White Cheesecakes.

Stay tuned,

Sweet Joan

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