If you’ve had your fill of Christmas Cookies and need to mix it up a bit, I’ve got a great recipe for you. These Pear Butter Cupcakes do require a bit of extra effort due to the fact that you have to make the pear butter and add it to the center of the cupcake, but I think they’re worth it.
I find it best to use not-quite-ripe pears, however doing so will limit the amount of liquid produced when you make the pear butter, and you may have to add some. If you are using super juicy pears, you will have to add less or none at all.
The recipe below makes just enough pear butter for the cupcakes. Well, I had enough left to have with one English Muffin. If you wish to make more, you can find the original recipe here.
Pear Butter Cupcakes
inspired by The Kitchen Prep Blog
1 c sugar
2 T vanilla extract, divided (or scrape 1 vanilla bean)
1 ¾ c cake flour
1 ½ t baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
¼ c unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 c Greek yogurt
¼ c vegetable oil
2/3 c whole milk (also ok to use a lower fat milk or a combo of low-fat milk and cream)
For Pear Butter Filling
½ T apple juice
¾ T lemon juice, divided
1 lb. Bartlett pears (about 2 pears)
1/3 packed light brown sugar
1/8 t nutmeg
¾ c (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ c packed light brown sugar
¼ t cinnamon
3 cups powdered sugar
4-6 T milk
- Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cupcake tins with liners.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, 1 T vanilla, and flour through salt from the cupcake ingredients until well blended.
- Beat in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, oil, and remaining Tablespoon of vanilla. Combine into dry ingredients in stand mixer.
- Gradually add milk. Mixture will be very runny, that’s ok!
- Fill each liner half way full. Bake for 16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and cool.
For Pear Butter Filling
- While cupcakes are baking (or ahead of time), combine apple juice and lemon juice into a saucepan.
- Peel, core, and cut pears into 1-inch pieces. Add to saucepan. Cook over medium heat until pears release moisture, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently. If they aren’t releasing moisture, add water about two Tablespoons at a time to prevent burning.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until pears are tender – about 20 minutes. Again, if pears start sticking to the saucepan or burning add small amounts of water.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Push pear mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
- Return pear sauce to saucepan on low heat. Add brown sugar, nutmeg, and salt. Bring to boil until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. This should take about 15 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Beat together butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until well-combined.
- Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until well blended.
- Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
- If any of your cupcakes have a substantial “mound” on top, cut it off. (This should not happen much if you don’t use too much batter.)
- Cut a hole in the middle of each cupcake. There are many ways to do this. A paring knife will allow you to make a nice cone in the middle. I have found that a strawberry huller is perfect for this task, though. Others use an apple corer. You do not need to put the “lid” back on the hole, so just snack on them!
- Use a teaspoon to fill the newly-formed hole with pear butter.
- Fill a piping bag with frosting and pipe onto cupcakes.