Saturday, 28 January 2012

Nana's Cupcakes - a Guide of What Not to Do :)

I remember "assisting" my Nan when she was baking those delicious custard cupcakes. There was probably more disturbance than help on my side, and unfortunately I was a bit too small back then to learn how to make them properly.
Now, by cupcakes I mean something sightly different to the iced sponges you see everywhere - the Polish cupcake is more of a sweet pastry case with a gooey filling - all generously dusted with enough icing sugar to give my husband a coughing fit.
These days, this type of cakes is available pretty much in any cake shop, but there's nothing like home-made ones! Maybe it's just me, but that seems to be the case with all cakes - you can buy them to save yourself the hassle of preparation, but the bought ones are never quite as good. Plus, there's a part of my that will make me try to make it 'just the way it should be' :) This time though, as it sometimes happens, not everything went according to the plan. The recipe is really easy and straight forward, yet there are a couple of things to remember, otherwise you'll end up with a disaster like mine!  
I started my preparations with a trip to the supermarket to buy the special baking trays for my cupcakes, as they're meant to be prepared in special ones, to give them their special shape. And bummer - they didn't have them! Not a single one! As it was well cold outside and I really couldn't face a trip to another shop (which might or might not have had the trays) I decided that I would make my own version of the cupcakes and a muffin tray would have to suffice. There's a recipe and a few tips on how to avoid an oven catastrophe that I caused, by not following the recipe to the letter. Take my word for that - an oven covered in baked custard is not exactly a lot of fun! :)

For the pastry you need:

300 g plain flour
150 g butter
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons of thick cream

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, knead until the dough is smooth and soft. Roll the pastry with a rolling pin until it's about 3 millimetres thick (and it does mean 3 mil. - if it's too thin it might break during baking and the custard will pour out - I know something about it :) Use a cup to cut out circular bits to fill in the trays with (careful not to make any holes in them!) each cupcake will also need another circle as a lid.  

For the custard you need:

0.5 litre of milk
3 tablespoons of plain flour
3 tablespoons of cornflour
1 cup of sugar (coffee cup)

From the 0.5 litre of milk take a cup and mix flour and corn flour with it. Pour the rest of milk into a pan, stir in sugar and vanilla and bring to boil. When it's boiling stir in the mix of milk and flour (keep stirring or whisking vigorously so as it doesn't curdle). Simmer for a few minutes until the custard thickens.  

When both the pastry and custard are ready, fill the trays with pastry and put custard in each cupcake, then close each cake with a lid. Make sure the top is fixed well and won't come off during baking (I didn't and had all my tray and oven covered with custard! Duh!). Bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes in 190 ยบC, and when they are ready (and cool down a bit) take them off the trays, turn them upside-down and sprinkle icing sugar over them. Enjoy!!!
The picture shows a few of the cupcakes that I managed to salvage from my 'oven crisis'. :) Luckily, the taste was spot on!

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