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Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

(Makes 18 cupcakes)


2 cups cake flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup lemon juice
Grated zest of 2 lemons

Lemon Curd:
3 eggs       
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (2 to 3 lemons)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Italian Meringue:
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup


To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl; set aside. In another bowl, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add flour mixture and buttermilk; blend until smooth. Beat in lemon juice and zest. Divide the batter among the prepared liners. Bake about 18 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer cupcake to a rack to cool.

To make the lemon curd:
In a bowl combine the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour through a strainer to remove any lumps. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until melted. Stir in the lemon zest. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd so a skin does not form. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until cold.

To make the meringue:
With an electric mixer, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.
Combine 1-1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees. F. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup into egg whites in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.

To assemble the Lemon Meringue Cupcakes:
Using a paring knife, cut at an angle 1/4-inch from the edge of each cupcake and 1/2-inch deep into the center. You will be removing a cone-shaped wedge from the top of each cupcake. Save the cake pieces that you remove. Fill each cupcake with a dollop of the lemon curd. Cut the reserved pieces of cake to fit over the curd and flush with the cupcake top.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip with the meringue.
Pipe frosting onto each cupcake.
(Alternately you can spread the meringue on the cupcakes with a knife.)

To brown meringue:
Use a small kitchen torch, moving it back and forth until the meringue is lightly browned all over. Alternately, place the frosted cupcakes on a baking sheet and put in a 400 degree F oven for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned all over.
You can also make the Lemon Cupcakes with either of these 2 toppings and omit the lemon curd filling and meringue.

Lemon Cupcakes Topped with Berries and Limoncello Glaze

Limoncello Glaze
(Enough for 18 cupcakes)

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons limoncello
3 tablespoon lemon juice
Strawberries or raspberries (optional)

Combine 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, butter, limoncello, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until the butter melts and glaze comes to a simmer. Whisk in additional sugar by tablespoons if the glaze is too thin. Spoon 1 teaspoon of warm glaze over each warm cupcake. Cool cupcakes completely. Arrange 1 strawberry or a few raspberries on each cupcake. Drizzle remaining limoncello glaze over each. Let cupcakes stand until glaze sets.

Lemon Cupcakes Topped with Lemon Whipped Cream

Lemon Whipped Cream
(Makes about 1-1/2 cups)

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar       
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Beat the ingredients with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
Fill a pastry bag and pipe the cream onto the cupcakes or spread with a knife.
The refreshing flavor of a lemon cupcake is wonderful for a spring or summer dessert.
To make the Lemon Meringue Cupcakes, add some homemade or purchased lemon curd and top with meringue for a delightful rendition of a lemon meringue pie.  For a simpler version, top the lemon cupcakes with berries and limoncello glaze or lemon whipped cream frosting.
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The outermost layer of a lemon rind is full of aromatic essential oil that can liven up dishes, desserts,and drinks.

To grate a lemon:
Rub a lemon against a rasp or grater with very small holes, rotating the fruit as soon as the white pith appears.  One lemon should yield 2 to 3 teaspoons of fluffy zest.
Use lemon zest when baking sweets, making salad dressings or marinades, or for sprinkling on roasted vegetables.
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