I am the first to admit I have avoided making lemon meringue pie all my life out of fear of using a culinary torch, and also of making a meringue. Past attempts to make meringues have been unsuccessful and resulted in goopy masses of egg white and translucent liquid. However, with my trusty KitchenAid mixer, a new torch and a butane refill, and oodles of spare time as I wait for my baby to arrive, I decided to make a go of it.
Yet again, this is another recipe from Martha Stewart's "Cupcakes" book , as were the tiramisu cupcakes from a previous post; and the chocolate-spice cupcakes as well.
I made this recipe in two parts; I made the lemon curd one day before the cupcake and frosting and let it chill in the refrigerator.
A friend of mine came over to make the cupcake batter and frosting with me, and so we made the full batch of 24 cupcakes so that she would take some home too. However, in the future I might cut that recipe into half as 24 cupcakes are hard to spread around unless there is an occasion.
None, except I added a few drops of Bohjalian's lemon oil to the batter as I can't get enough lemon flavour. It wasn't overpowering at all.
Would I make this again?
Yes, I would, provided I give myself ample time. I managed to misplace my candy thermometer so I had to confirm the sugar syrup had reached its appropriate temperature by taking a fork and drizzling it across a plate. I knew that it was ready when there were long threads of sugar that started to harden.
Torching the tops of the frosting proved to be a bit difficult, but that was more because the torch was temperamental than anything else. So temperamental, in fact, that my thumb was red and sore the next day.
I was concerned the frosting wouldn't come together because I didn't have the thermometer to make the syrup properly, but true to the recipe, the frosting worked out beautifully. I can say this is the best frosting I have ever tasted - it almost had a marshmallow consistency and flavour and held up beautifully without starting to droop once we frosted the cupcakes.
If you are worried about the appearance and consistency of the frosting while beating the egg whites, just remind yourself that you need to give this a full seven minutes, and in my case, more like 10 minutes.
Even after the frosting was done and we were concerned it wouldn't hold up while piping, my friend and I put the bowl in the refrigerator for a few minutes to harden and also left it in there while we were icing the cupcakes. That seemed to do the trick.
My one complaint was that I found the lemon curd to taste a tad too strong, too harsh. It was tangy, and sweet, and tasted like lemon curd should. But there was also an undertone of iron. That said, I am well over 9 months pregnant and my taste buds are picking up all kinds of nuances they never did before. No one else mentioned the strange taste.
Five stars out of five: Because the frosting was out of this world and kept its shape; because the lemon curd came together just as the recipe said it would, because the cupcake batter was light and airy, and finally because these lemon meringue cupcakes looked professional and dainty and beautiful, I give this recipe five stars out of five.
Some of you who have been reading my blog for a while may know that I sometimes dock marks for recipes that take a while. But in this case, the recipe makes it clear from the beginning that this is a multi-step process. If you don't have the time, don't rush this one.
And if you are really strapped for time but still want to try, make the lemon curd ahead of time and refrigerate it; make the cupcakes on another day and refrigerate them in airtight containers; and save the frosting and icing for the day you will serve these.