Sure, kidnapping a girl and en-prisoning her in the Underworld isn't exactly romantic. Hades was no Casanova. But at least he had the wherewithal to feed Persephone pomegranates, even if it was a nasty trick designed to keep her coming back to him. Somehow pomegranates have morphed from the ancient form of rufies into a common ingredient in decadent, romantic desserts. I don't know what that says about us as a society, but they sure do taste good. Pair them with a luscious ingredient like dark chocolate and you have something really special. These cupcakes are my imagining of what Persephone would whip up to pass the time with Hades. She probably wouldn't give him any. I wouldn't.
Pom-Filled Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Pomegranate Mascarpone Icing
makes 10 cupcakes
For Pomegranate Curd Filling:
3 egg yolks
1/4 c. granulated sugar
3 Tbls. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. gelatin
pinch of salt
Scant 1/2 cup Pom Wonderful juice
red food coloring (optional)
Whisk egg yolks and a pinch of salt in a small bowl, set aside. Pour a Tbls. of the Pom juice into another small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top to soften, set aside. Prepare an ice bath and (you guessed it!) set aside. In a small saucepan, cook remaining juice and sugar over medium heat, whisking constantly until mixture comes just to a boil. Remove immediately from heat. Pour a small amount of hot juice into yolks, whisking rapidly to temper. Continue whisking in small amounts until all of juice is incorporated. Add mixture back to the pan and add butter and gelatin mixture (make sure you whisk the gelatin into that Tbls. of juice first). Continue whisking and cooking over medium heat until mixture has thickened, about 8 minutes. Pour into prepared ice bath and stir until cool. Stir in several drops of red food coloring if desired (otherwise your curd is an unsightly brown shade). Cover with plastic wrap so that it touches the surface of the curd (to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate for at least an hour.
3/4 c. all purpose flour
6 Tbls. dark cocoa powder
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
scant 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 Tbls vegetable oil6 Tbls Pom Wonderful juice
Line a muffin tin with paper liners and preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sift flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Reduce speed to low and add egg, oil, milk, juice, and vanilla. Beat until combined. Pour into prepared tin. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans.
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/4 c. Pom Wonderful juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preparation:In a small saucepan, heat juice over high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking until a syrup has formed, about 8 minutes. Beat butter and mascarpone until fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Beat vanilla and cooled pomegranate syrup into icing until well combined.
To assemble cupcakes:
Cut a small inverted cone shape from the top of each cooled cupcake and eat them :). Fill each hole with a teaspoon of pomegranate curd and top with icing. Decorate as desired.
*The pomegranate curd alone makes an amazing treat (I had to hide it from myself while the cupcakes cooled) and I'll be folding the extra into whipped cream later to make frozen mousse. Yum!
*This is also my entry for February's Dessert Wars Challenge: Dark Chocolate and Hearts!
The February prize package includes:
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