Pistachio Blood Orange Cupcakes

Pistachio Blood Orange Cupcakes

My first encounter with the term blood orange was actually with the San Pellegrino drink. Not to be confused with the traditional Aranciata flavor, the Aranciata Rossa flavor was introduced to me by one of my fancy food loving best friends. Blood orange has a distinct flavor to it, different than that of a traditional orange. When you slice open a blood orange you will notice a deep crimson color. Blood oranges are not only delicious but packed with antioxidants.

Around christmas time I had made a pistachio cake following a Williams Sonoma recipe and it was a huge success with friends and family. I’ve taken the same recipe I used for that cake and added in the blood orange component. I’ve also paired this with a blood orange mascarpone frosting. Both the frosting and the cake have a strong pistachio flavor with a subtle note from the blood orange.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups shelled pistachio (unsalted)

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. grated blood orange zest

6 egg whites (room temperature)

1/8 tsp salt

2 tbls fresh squeezed juice of a blood orange

6 tbls unsalted butter (melted and cooled)

Ingredients for frosting:

8 oz. mascarpone cheese

1/2 cups unsalted butter (room temperature)

3 cups powdered sugar

3 tbls. fresh squeezed juice of a blood orange

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place pistachios on a baking sheet and roast for about 5 minutes. Pour on a plate to cool. Once cooled, remove the shells.

Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake tray with liners (makes 18).

In a food processor, coarsely chop half of the toasted nuts, then remove and set aside. Add the remaining toasted nuts and 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar to the food processor. Process until the nuts are finely chopped. Add in flour and orange zest, pulse to blend.

In the bowl an electric mixer, beat together the egg whites and salt until foamy. Increase speed to high and add in the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar and orange juice. Beat until soft peaks form. Remove from standing mixer and fold in the flour mixture. Add in the butter and about 3/4 of the reserved chopped pistachios (you want to save some to top the cupcakes with). Fold in gently using a rubber spatula.

Fill each cupcake mold about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely on wire racks.

To make the frosting, combine the mascarpone and unsalted butter in the bowl of a standing mix. Mix on medium speed until smooth and well incorporated. Gradually add in the powder sugar and the juice from the blood orange. Mix on high speed for about 7 minutes or until light and fluffy in texture. Use a spatula to scoop the frosting into a piping bag fitted with your desired piping tip.

Evenly pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and top with the remaining reserved pistachios.

Pistachio Blood Orange Cupcakes

Pistachio Blood Orange Cupcakes

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