Life. It was life that got in the way of me, that old chestnut. Moving house…well, look that’s actually my only excuse and that was completed in a weekend. So where has the rest of the time gone? Who knows…
Anyway, I’m back! Back with a cheeky little afternoon tea treat I made a couple of weekends ago. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of the gift of a blowtorch from my wonderful parents a while ago. I also had a frustrating amount of egg whites lying around from tales of creme brulee past. What better way to kill two birds with the one stone than to whack up a batch of lemon meringue cupcakes!
You will need:
for the cupcakes…
– 125g butter (make sure it’s a little bit soft)
– 140g caster sugar
– 3 eggs
– the zest of a lemon
– 1 tsp vanilla paste/essence/whatever you’ve got
– 200g self raising flour
– 100g almond meal
– 1/3 of a cup of milk
for the lemon curd…
– check this one out. It’s not too sweet and REALLY lemony: http://marmadukescarlet.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/lemon-and-lime-curd.html
for the meringue…
– 4 egg whites
– 200g caster sugar
Step 1 – cupcake kingdom: start by lining a muffin tray (it’ll make around 12 muffins). Also whack your oven up to about 180 degrees. Cream together your butter and sugar, along with the lemon zest. Then add your vanilla. When this is all pale and creamy, add in the eggs, one by one. Beat pretty thoroughly after each addition. Then, add a bit of the flour and almond meal and a bit of the milk – in alternate batches until it’s all combined. Bake these bad boys for around about 20 minutes, but check after 15 for a nice golden, springy finish. Get them out on a cooling rack for a while.
Step 2 – fill ‘er up: while the cupcakes are baking, make your lemon curd. Set it to cool – and even put it in the fridge for a little while to let it thicken. When your cupcakes have cooled a little, cut a little divot out of the top – maybe a 3/4 of an inch deep – and spoon in about a teaspoon of your curd. Proceed to eat the little bits of cupcake you have cut out as a “taste test”.
Step 3 – is that a cumulus cloud: crack out those forearms that you’ve been working on for so long. Get your egg whites into a clean, dry, non-oily bowl. Did you know you can freeze egg whites? Well, you can. I did, for three weeks, in a little sandwich bag. Anyway, quit thinking and start whisking. Get them to stiff peaks and then add your sugar in three or four batches. You really want to make this as firm as you can, because it doesn’t get “cooked” per se. Once you’re happy and you’ve done the bowl-upside-down-over-the-head trick, either spoon or pipe on your meringue on top of the lemon curd-filled cupcakes.
Now get that blow torch cranking. Gently torch the meringue so you get those nice little caramelise-y bits on top. Devour like a ravenous lion.