Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mandarin and Almond Cupcakes

2 large mandarins
4 eggs
9 oz caster sugar
7 oz ground almonds
1 oz fine semolina
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbs light olive oil
1 tsp orange blossom water, optional
1 1/2 oz flaked almonds, lightly toasted
1/2 cup orange breakfast marmalade
1/2 cup honey
1 3/4 oz pistachio kernels, lightly roasted, skins rubbed
1/2 pint double cream or mascarpone

Place mandarins in a large saucepan and cover with water. Keep submerged with a plate. Bring to a simmer over low-medium heat and cook for 1 1/2 hours, then remove and cool. Cut mandarins in half, remove any pips, then process halves in a food processor until pureed.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease metal pudding moulds. Using an electric mixer, whisk eggs and 7 oz sugar until just pale. Using a fine sieve, sift ground almonds, semolina, baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt over egg mixture. Add oil, orange blossom water (if using), pureed mandarins and almonds. Fold to combine.
Spoon batter among moulds, filling to 1/4 inch from top. Place on an oven tray and bake on lowest shelf for 20-25 minutes or until dark golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool cakes in tins for 5 minutes, then invert on to a wire rack to cool completely.
Place remaining sugar, marmalade, honey and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, then transfer to a small bowl. Dip cakes, 1 at a time, into syrup, avoiding bases, then place on a baking paper-lined tray. Add pistachios to syrup. Top each cake with cream, then spoon over pistachios and remaining syrup. Serve.

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