Happy π Day!
In celebration of March 14, I made a pie inspired Apple Pie Cupcake. I thought this was a cute idea, but it didn't turn out to be the most photogenic one. Beige frosting on beige cupcake with white wrapper on white background. If I thought ahead, I could have at least saved one of those deliciously green Granny Smith's to pop in the background for a boost of color. You will simply have to take my word for the fact they're quite tasty even though they look rather dull.
Make Approx. 16.
Apple Juice reduction:
Boil down 1 cup of apple juice until thick and syrupy - approximately 2 tablespoons worth. Cool.
Basic Vanilla Cupcake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream, or buttermilk)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil
Preheat oven to 350˚. Line cupcake tins.
In medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In larger bowl, beginning with gently whisking eggs, mix together the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix dry into wet until blended.
1 tbs butter
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced.
3 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add apples. Once the apples start to sizzle, add a dash of water and cover with lid for about 5 minutes, or until apples are semi-translucent. Break apples up with a wooden spoon until only smaller chunks remain. Add brown sugar and stir until apples are coated and syrupy. Remove from heat.
3/4 cups butter, room temperature
2-1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbs apple juice reduction
Whip butter until smoothly. Slowly add in powdered sugar until combined. Scrape sides of bowl before adding the apple juice reduction. Whip until smooth and creamy. I added a little dab of red and yellow food coloring to try and get the color a little more "baked pie crust" color, but should have done a little bit more.
Once the cupcakes are cooled, remove centers of cupcakes using a melon baller (or any other tool you prefer). Fill cavity with apple sauce filling. Pipe a large dollop of frosting onto each cupcake. Using an offset spatula, smooth each dollop into a uniform mound, tapering at the sides. Using a small frosting tip, pipe curly cues around the edges of the cupcake, to make it look like a pie crust. I tried putting little divots in the tops of each cupcake, similar to the venting holes you cut into pie crusts, but they didn't look very good, so I did without. I highly recommend using a different colored cupcake wrapper too. Gotta liven these up a bit.
In any case, Happy Pi Day. I want to leave you with a little Pi story that I just learned about recently. Back in 1897, the Indiana legislature almost passed a bill to legally define pi as a rounded off 3.2. Their only saving grace was the presence of a Mathematics professor from Purdue who gave the Congress an impromptu math lesson on why that was impossible. Nice try!