Ispahan Cupcakes

Ispahan rose, also known as “Rose d'Isfahan” or “Pompon des Princes”, is one of the most beautiful and finest Damask roses.They were introduced in Europe during the Crusades on the XIII century, brought from Persia. Damasks flowers are renowned for being the most fragrant roses from the Old Garden. Their fine petals are used to make rose oil, perfumery, rose water, food flavor and teas.  

Ispahan is also one of signature creations of the celebrated French patissier Pierre Hermé: “A subtle combination of sweet rose cream flavored with lychees, whose taste extends those of rose and raspberry while establishing a contrastwith its acidity and power. All of this goodness is contained in a tender,crisp macaron shell”.  This edible masterpiece is certainly one of the most delicious and beautiful dessert I have ever tasted.   

I came up with this cupcake after seeing some varying forms of this dessert that I found on his book Pastries. First I prepared a light cupcake recipe flavored with  rose water. Then I used raspberry compote with a fresh lychee as filling, and rose mascarpone custard for frosting. To embellish then I tried to reproduce a sugar Ispahan rose. Unfortunately I couldn’t find nearby an Ispahan rose to photograph, so my inspiration came from some photos that I have looked online. 

I love my cupcakes. They brought me delightful memories from Paris, when I had the pleasure to enjoy a Ispahan from Pierre Hermé boutique at the Luxemburg Gardens, accompanied by my dear friend Layla. I hope that my cupcakes bring you good feelings too.

Have a good weekend!

Ispahan Cupcakes

Rose Cupcakes
makes 6

1 cup cake flour, sifted
½  cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
½ cup butter, softened
½ teaspoon rose water
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoon milk
6 whole fresh or canned lychees 

Line 6 cupcake cups with papers lines. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer bowl and beat with the paddle attachment for about a minute or until light and creamy.
Fill each cupcake line two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until risen and just firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Assembly: With a small paring knife cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake. Add about 1 tablespoon of the raspberry compote (recipe below) and 1 whole lychee.  Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the rose mascarpone custard (recipe below) and pipe on the cupcakes.

Rose Custard (Créme Anglaise à la rose)
from the book Pierre Herme Pastries

2 gelatin sheets
Scant 1 cup (225 g) heavy cream)
 2 ½ egg yolks (50g)
1/3 cup (65g) superfine granulated sugar
2 Tbsp (30 g) rose syrup
½ tsp (3.5 g ) rose extract in alcohol
Soak the gelatin in cold water for 20 minutes. In a saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar. Pour the boiling cream over the egg-sugar mixture, beating hard. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and cook, stirring, just until it reaches a temperature of 185°F (85°C). Remove from the heat. Drain and squeeze the gelatin of excess water and incorporate it into the custard. Add the rose syrup and the rose extract. Blend with a handheld immersion blender and set aside to cool.

Rose mascarpone custard
1 cup (250 g) mascarpone cheese
1 ¾ cups (375 g ) rose custard

In a bowl, beat the mascarpone by hand with a whisk until smooth, and then incorporate the rose custard. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Decorate the cupcakes with swirls of rose custard.

Raspberry compote
from the book Pierre Herme Pastries

¾ cup (200g) raspberries
2 tbsp (30g) superfine granulated sugar
2 ¼ Tbsp (40g) still mineral water

Puree the raspberries in a blender. In a saucepan, combine the superfine sugar, still mineral water and raspberry puree and boil until the temperature reaches 185F (85F).