Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Finally made Lemon Meringue Cupcakes and they turned out divine!  I have been a little wary of tackling these for a long time but they were more time consuming than difficult.  The recipe for the cupcakes and meringue is from the Culinary Institute of America.

First you need to make and chill the Lemon Curd for the filling.  This can be made ahead of time since you really do have to cook it for 20-25 minutes while stirring constantly.  This recipe can be used for any citrus curd - Lemon, Lime, Orange or Grapefruit.

Lemon Curd - Makes 3 Cups

4-5 Lemons
4 ounces unsalted Butter cut in chunks
1 cup Sugar
2 large Eggs, beaten 

Directions: Soften the lemons by rolling them back and forth with your hands on the kitchen counter; you will get more juice out of them if you do this.

Grate the zest very finely, take care that you don’t grate the white pith. Squeeze the juice out of the fruit; you will need 2/3 cup.

Put the rind (zest), butter, sugar and juice in a heatproof bowl. Stand this over a pan of boiling water and heat until the sugar and butter have melted. Lower the heat, you don’t want the water to boil now.

Whisk in the eggs, when incorporated use a wooden spoon and stir until the curd has thickened and coats the back of the spoon, 20 to 25 minutes.

Pour into a bowl and lay plastic wrap on the top of the curd. Plastic wrap should be touching the curd.

Use this recipe to make orange, lime or grapefruit curd, just make sure you have 2/3 cup juice. Keep refrigerated.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

These sweet and tangy treats are sure to interest young and old alike at your next special gathering. Lemon chiffon cupcakes hide a surprise lemon curd filling and are topped with fluffy toasted meringue.


Makes 24 cupcakes

Lemon Chiffon Cupcakes 
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar, divided
4 large egg yolks
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
4 large egg whites

Swiss Meringue

4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar

Directions: Prepare the Lemon Chiffon Cupcakes.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare pans with cupcake liners. Sift the flour, baking powder, and half the sugar together into a large mixing bowl or stand mixer and reserve.

In another large mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl, combine the egg yolks, oil, water, vanilla, and zest. Mix with a hand held mixer or whip attachment until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.

Add the egg yolk mixture gradually to the dry ingredients, mixing with a hand held mixer or whip attachment on medium speed until a paste forms. When a paste has formed, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and continue adding the remainder of the yolk mixture until it is all incorporated. Beat for an additional 2 minutes on medium speed.

In a separate mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl, whip the egg whites with a clean whip attachment on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar while beating the egg whites and continue to beat until medium peaks form.

Gently blend one-third of the beaten egg whites into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake at 375°F until the top of the cupcakes spring back to the touch, about 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling before decorating.

Prepare Swiss Meringue
Put the egg whites and sugar in the clean, grease-free bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and stir together until the sugar is blended into the egg whites. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir frequently until the sugar dissolves and the mixture reaches 140°F. Transfer the bowl to the mixer and beat on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy and has a stiff peak.

Finish the cupcakes
Fill a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip two-thirds full with lemon curd. Insert the tip as far as it will go inside the center of the cupcake and apply gentle pressure. Try not to squeeze too hard or lemon curd will squirt out the top of the cupcake. Stop filling once you see any lemon curd around the base of the tip. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes. Clean the piping bag and tip and fill it two-thirds full with Swiss meringue. Pipe a large pearl of meringue on top of each cupcake. Use the back of a spoon to lift up areas of the meringue, creating spikes. Lightly toast the meringue with a kitchen torch or under the broiler until the tips of the meringue are golden brown.
Now eat!