So…Trophy disappointed me by running out of Lemon Meringue Cupcakes last week. I disappointed myself today by producing inferior cupcakes.
I started by making a graham cracker crust for the bottom of the cupcake. I spun 12 graham crackers in the food processor then added some melted butter. I put a tablespoonful of the crumb mixture into each cupcake liner and pressed it down with a juice glass. The crusts went into the 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.
I used the standard Cook’s Illustrated vanilla cupcake recipe and made a couple of revisions. I didn’t have sour cream, so I used a container of plain (Greek) yogurt. I also thought they would need to go into the frig because of the meringue, so I used oil instead of butter. I added the zest of 2 lemons to the batter as well.
I scooped the batter on top of the crusts in the cups and baked for around 20 minutes.
After removing the cupcakes from the oven, I allowed them to cool for a bit. I wanted to make a lemon syrup to brush the tops with, since I think of lemon meringue pie as being very sticky. I boiled some lemon juice with sugar until it reduced by half. I didn’t really like the taste of it, so I chucked it.
Using a pastry bag and a small tip, I squirted lemon curd into the center of each cupcake. In retrospect, I should have cut out a cone to ensure that I had enough curd in each cake.
I used an Italian meringue for the top. I boiled a cup of sugar with 1/3 cup of water until it reached 240 degrees, then poured it into the mixer bowl where I had whipped 5 (pasteurized) egg whites to soft peaks. I beat the mixture until it cooled, then piped it on top of the cakes. Unfortunately, neither Mr Shuck nor I could get the kitchen torch lit with the one match I was able to scrounge up, so Mr Shuck and his friend held them close to the broiler coil in the oven.
I’m not very happy with this cupcake for a couple of reasons. First, the meringue seems a little over beaten. I don’t really like meringue so this may taint my objectivity here also. Second, there should be more lemon curd filling. I also think they would have made better minis. These are a little hard to bite into and get a taste of each component. While a nice single bite would have been good, it’s probably best that the boys didn’t have to hold twice as many cupcakes up to the broiler.
I do like the graham cracker crust as it adds some crunch. The cake itself is nice. It’s more “lemon-scented” and not overpoweringly lemony.
Addendum: I gave 1/2 of the cupcakes to our friend who helped. His family really enjoyed them, especially the ones with a noticeable amount of lemon curd. Maybe this was successful after all!