14 August 2011

RECIPE: Lemon meringue cupcakes

I've been wanting to make lemon meringue cupcakes for ages.... so when I had leftover lemon curd and Italian meringue from a pastry test at college, I decided to finally try them out!

If you LOVE cupcakes and LOVE lemon, you will totally LOVE these! They are DELICIOUSLY tart with a beautiful burst of lemony flavour and marshmallowy fluff icing.

Lemon Cupcakes
adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery
Makes 12 big ones

120g/1 cup cake flour
140g/ 3/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbs softened butter
120ml/ 1/2 cup full cream milk
1 large egg
1/4  tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Put flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and butter into a mixing bowl. Using a handheld electric whisk on slow speed until combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated. 

Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a seperate bowl, then pour it into the flour mixture and continue to beating until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the lined cupcake tin (two-thirds full). Bake for 20-25 min or until golden. Leave cupcakes to cool. 

Lemon Curd
adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes approx 500ml

8 egg yolks
 Zest of 2 lemons
155ml lemon juice (fresh)
 1 cup sugar
150ml butter

Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8 to 10 minutes (160C on an instant-read thermometer).

Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Italian Meringue
From The Way to Cook, by Julia Child

For the Egg Whites:
2/3 cup egg whites (4 to 5 whites)
A pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
For the Sugar Syrup:
1-1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup water

Beat the egg whites at slow speed until the foam throughout, add the salt and cream of tartar, gradually increase the speed to fast, and beat to soft peaks. Turn the machine to slow as you complete the sugar syrup.
Bring the sugar and water to the simmer, swirl the pan to dissolve the sugar completely, cover tightly and boil to the soft-ball stage (234°F to 240°F; 112°C to 116°C on a candy thermometer).
Beating the egg whites at moderately slow speed, dribble into them the boiling syrup — trying to avoid the wires of the whip. Increase speed to moderately fast and beat until cool and the egg whites form stiff, shining, upstanding peaks. The meringue is now ready to use as your recipe directs. 

Once the cupcakes have cooled, cut a little cone out of the centre of each, fill them with lemon curd and replace the lids. Pipe the Italian meringue on top and brown with a blow torch. If you do not have a blow torch, put them under the grill for 2min until golden. 
Decorate with lemon wedges, mint and edible glitter.