One of the many things that is hard to find in the UK is pumpkin purée. Unlike in North America, where “pumpkin spice” is in practically everything come autumn (seriously – it’s insane), the UK doesn’t really do pumpkin desserts. Suuure, you can get a pumpkin spice latte now at Starbucks, but pumpkin desserts are a quintessentially North American thing. Which makes sense – no thanksgiving, no pumpkin pie.
So in the past, when I have come across canned pumpkin purée, I would buy a couple just for the future. You never know when you might need it! Update – my local little Waitrose has it in stock right now… whaaaatt?!
And of course, when I got the inclination to try these cupcakes, I was out of pumpkin and with no where to find it. So I thought about it, and realized that spiced sweet potatoes (yams in Canada) taste a whole lot like pumpkin pie. So I figured I could simply use some pureed sweet potato instead of pumpkin! And you know what? I couldn’t tell the difference!
The original recipe for these cupcakes called for a graham cracker crust. Again, not something you can find here in the UK. However, my mom had sent me a box a while back, and I had juuuust enough left to crush up. You could substitute with digestive biscuits, but I don’t think it’s worth it. The graham crust is more flavour than texture, and without the honey graham taste, I don’t think it’s necessary. You could just omit that part.
Of course, then they wouldn’t be very “s’more” but hey, you do what you can! After all, s’mores are a very North American thing, just like pumpkin pie. Which makes finding graham crackers nigh impossible. Why do I suddenly get these inclinations to bake things with hard to find ingredients?!
Anyways, if you’re not yet in the mood for Christmas (I am soooo excited for Christmas!!) and want something a bit more fall-appropriate to make – why not try these? They make a great mini cupcake too! Oh, and if you don’t have a kitchen torch (like me) you can use your oven broiler! Just make sure to keep an eye on them so that they don’t get too brown!
- 55g graham cracker/digestive crumbs
- 114g softened + 28g melted, unsalted butter
- 210g brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 10ml vanilla extract
- 200g flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ginger
- pinch cardamom + cloves
- 125 ml milk
- 175g sweet potato/pumpkin purée
- 110g milk chocolate, chopped
- 60ml double cream
- Italian Meringue:
- 90g egg whites
- 185g sugar
- 35ml water
- Preheat the oven to 165°C (325°F) convection. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
- Melt the 28g butter, and mix together with the graham cracker crumbs. Divide the mixture evenly among the cases and press into the bottom of each one.
- Beat the softened butter and brown sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until well blended.
- Sift together the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Blend into the butter mixture.
- Stir the milk and purée into the mixture. Spoon into the cases and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool before filling/topping.
- To make the ganache, heat the double cream until simmering (microwave works well) and stir into the chocolate until melted and smooth. Fill a piping bag with the ganache, and pipe a bit into each cupcake.
- To make the meringue, place the egg whites into a clean/dry medium bowl. Mix the sugar and water together in a small pot, and heat over a medium heat until a thermometer reads 114°C.
- At this point, start mixing the egg whites with an electric beater until fluffy. When the sugar syrup is between 118-120°C, slowly pour it down the side of the bowl, while mixing the egg whites on high.
- Continue mixing the egg whites until they are fluffy, and have cooled to room temperature.
- Fill a piping bag with a large star tip with the meringue. Pipe on top of the cupcakes, and brown with a kitchen blow torch (or place the cupcakes on a baking sheet, and brown under your oven's broiler).