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Fig and Walnut Cupcakes

Here is my first entry to this month's Iron Cupcake Challenge! This month's secret ingredient is nuts & seeds. I based this cupcake on a cookie I make for Christmas every year. The base of the cupcake is a cookie crust flavored with orange and lemon zest. The bottom of the cupcake is filled with a fig, walnut, honey, cinnamon, and lightly-orange mixture; think of it as a Highly Glorified fig newton filling. The fig filling is then covered with cheesecake and topped with either a half of a walnut or a decorative piece of cookie crust (brushed with an eggwash and sanding sugar.) This cupcake is the perfect blend of crunchy, creamy, gooey, sweet, spicy, and slightly savory. These cupcakes are great for an elegant adult party. So good!

Recipe follows...

Recipe for pastry and fig filling from Giada De Laurentiis
Pastry Dough: (Doubled this pastry dough recipe)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups cake flour
2/3 cup Baker's sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teasppon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

Fig Filling:
9 ounces dried Mission figs, stems discarded
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup honey
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 large egg, beaten to blend

Cheesecake: (multiply this recipe 1.5 times)
1 lb. room temp. cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 room temp. eggs (3 yolks, 2 whites)
1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 tbsp vanilla
For the pastry dough: Whisk the eggs and vanilla in a small bowl to blend. Mix the flour, sugar, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingers until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the egg mixture and mix with a fork until the dough comes together. Gather the dough into a ball. Divide the dough in 2 and flatten into disks. Wrap the dough disks in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, for the filling and cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Finely chop the figs and raisins in a food processor. Add the honey, orange juice, cinnamon, and lemon zest, and pulse just to blend. Scrape the fig mixture into a medium bowl. Stir in the walnuts.

To make the cheesecake, cream the powdered sugar and cream cheese together in a mixer. Continue mixing and add eggs and yogurt. Mix in vanilla at the end. Place in refridgerator until ready to use.

Butter 2-3 cupcake pans.

Roll out 1 disk of dough on a floured work surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut round pieces of the pastry and line each cup in the cupcake pan. Gather the dough scraps into a disk, then cover and refrigerate while assembling the cupcakes. Spoon the fig mixture into the bottom of each cupcake. Fill the remaining space in the cupcake with the cheesecake mixture. Leave only a 1/8 inch of the cupcake empty. Place either a walnut half or decoratively cut pieces of the cookie crust on top of each cupcake. If you use cookie crusts to decorate the tops, brush with an eggwash and dust with sanding sugar.

Bake for apx. 15 mins. Don't worry if the cheesecake puffs up or cracks, it with deflate to it's original height when it cools.

Allow the cupcakes to cool comepletely, use a small knife to gently lift each cupcake up and out of the cupcake pan. Enjoy!


Erik said...

I *really* liked these :)


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Englewood, Colorado, United States
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