Makes 18 cupcakes
5 ounces unsweetened bitter chocolate, chopped
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup milk
4 egg yolks
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg whites
1 recipe Pastry Cream, see recipe below
1/2 recipe Ganache, see recipe below
1 recipe Pure White Frosting, see recipe below
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12-cup and a 6-cup muffin tin.
Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a bowl over simmering water. In another bowl, combine brown sugar, 1/2 cup milk and 2 egg yolks. Whisk until combined. Add to melted chocolate and stir constantly (while cooking over simmering water) until mixture is shiny and thick, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a clean bowl, cream butter and sugar until light. Add remaining 2 egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking soda.
Combine cream, vanilla extract, and remaining 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl and reserve.
Pour cooled chocolate mixture into creamed butter and sugar. Whisk until smooth. Add combined dry ingredients and cream mixture in three stages, alternating liquid and dry ingredients, and ending with liquid.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold, all at once, into batter. Spoon batter into muffin cups, about two-thirds full.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Set aside to cool, in pan on rack, about 10 minutes. Invert and set aside on a lined sheet pan to cool, about an hour. Prepare Pastry Cream, Ganache, and Pure White Frosting.
Using the tip of a small paring knife, cut a small cone from bottom of each cupcake. Reserve cones. Scoop out about 1 teaspoon of the cake from center of each cupcake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with Pastry Cream. Pipe cream into cupcakes, then replace reserved cones. Place bottom-side down on a lined sheet pan and chill.
When Ganache is room temperature, dip cupcakes in to coat tops. Fill a plain-tipped pastry bag with frosting and decorate with a squiggle across each top, Hostess style. Store in refrigerator until serving time.
Makes 2 1/2 cups
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 egg yolks
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Mix 1/4 cup sugar and all cornstarch in a bowl until smooth. Add egg yolks and mix until a paste is formed. Stir in 1/2 cup milk.
Combine the remaining milk and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour hot mixture into mixture in bowl, whisking constantly. Pour back into pan.
Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and thick. Remove from heat and stir an additional minute. Stir in vanilla and transfer to a bowl. Cover with buttered parchment paper touching top and chill a minimum of 2 hours or as long as 2 days.
Makes 1 1/2 cups
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring cream to a boil. Pour into chocolate and stir until chocolate is completely melted. Let cool until mixture is less than body temperature.
Pure White Frosting
Makes 1/2 cup
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon milk
Mix in a small bowl until smooth.