Sunday, August 29, 2010

First Day Cupcakes

For the first day of school, I decided to try a new cupcake recipe and surprise my 12 new seventh grade advisees.  Mme Cupcake lent me her book, Cupcakes Galore by Gail Wagman.  I felt a kinship with the author immediately as I thumbed through the book and discovered she had lived in Provence.  There is even a recipe called The Arlésienne.  It has almonds, apricots and raspberry jelly in it.    But, for the little darlings, I chose the Lemon Meringue Pie cupcake recipe.  I didn't know if everyone likes chocolate (sure enough, one boy doesn't...) and tree nut allergies are becoming pretty common.  The recipe only made 12 cupcakes, so I didn't even get to taste one.  (I have to admit that I secretly hoped that one of the little darlings wouldn't want one... but not a crumb was left at the end of lunch!)  I did, however, save the scooped out bits and leftover lemon cream.  I mixed them up with some blueberries and had a delicious treat all for myself.  Remember that little hint in case you decide to make these.  It would be a sin to waste a bite of these.

Lemon Meringue Pie Cupcakes

12 cupcakes

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Lemon Cream
3/4 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/4 c. lemon juice
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 c. water
3 egg yolks (save the whites for meringue)
2 Tbsp. (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

Meringue Topping
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/4 c. sugar
A few teaspoons of sugar for dusting

Prepare the lemon cream: 
In top of a double boiler, mix sugar, flour, and salt together.  Add lemon juice and rind.  Mix well with a whisk.  Beat in water, egg yolks, and butter.  Place mixture over hot simmering water in a double boiler and cook until smooth and thick, stirring constantly with a whisk (about 20 minutes).  Cool and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon rind together.  Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add lemon juice and beat until well blended.  Add flour mixture and continue beating until batter is smooth.
Fill 12 cupcake liners with the batter.  Bake for 15 minutes or until cupcakes are golden on top.  Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
To make the meringue:
Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until they start to stiffen.  Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff but not dry.
Using a sharp knife, carefully remove a little cone from the center of the cooled cupcakes.  Fill the hole with lemon cream.
Place 1 tablespoon of meringue on each cupcake, forming peaks with the back of a spoon.  Dust lightly with sugar.  Bake the cupcakes in the oven for another 5-7 minutes or until meringue is just golden.  Let cool.

Bon appétit et Bonne Rentrée, to all teachers and students!

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