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The Delicious Appreciations of Pick Yin

Not exactly predictable.
Has enough brains for codes
(but can be completely clueless on other more important matters).
Likes her Joe (and her man?) black, her chocolate dark and her food spicy.
“Quam bene vivas refert, non quam diu.” — Seneca

Total Posts   191      Last Updated   23 November 2015 12:00 PM (GMT +8)

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

I'm back!

(Urghh... *groans* what now? Why's she suddenly so chirpy?) I hear some of you go. To tell you the truth, I just survived an hour long of knuckle press massage yesterday evening. After just two weeks into the book prep, I was rewarded with tight back muscles and restless sleeps. I need to sound like Tweety Bird and write about something yellow for a bit, just so some degree of sanity is restored and you will actually have a book to frown at next year.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Apart from agonizing over recipes, prop curating and photos, I resigned to the fact that I actually need to have an organized kitchen now more than ever, so a good few hours were dedicated to throwing out expired jars of why-did-I-buy-that condiments, dried out spices, apparently a small bottle of rice I've forgotten about after making risotto once and only God knows what else. My precious real estate of counter top space on the trolley had to be reclaimed at the expense of putting away two (yes, two) Chemex coffee cones on the top of the fridge (this is where rarely used things in the kitchen gets sent to slowly rot, I'm sure you'll agree?) and baking trays where they belong - in the you-won't-believe-what-a-mess-it-looks-like baking cupboard.

Did I hear you say "Show us the photos?" Well, soon. Maybe. I promise. While I figure out where to chuck my 2,567 pairs of cutlery all threatening to sag my top drawer and how to organize a still growing set of food props which has by now invaded the bookshelves in the hall. Then there's this corner next to my oven cabinet where a pair of stacked chairs are now drowning under piles of dry groceries, a tabletop fan and two kilos of cocoa powder plus a mortar and pestle underneath. "Photos or it never happened!", you demand. Give me some time. I need to mull over it.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

What did our mothers work with in their kitchen? My mother never needed a food processor, 10 coffee makers (we're dangerously getting there), a stand mixer with 50 accessories and 2 bowls, a vegetable peeler, zester... you get the picture. Now I'm a little disturbed my blender doesn't come with a dry grinder (actually I'm more disturbed by the fact that I actually overlooked the fact while purchasing it). Have we, in the process of evolving into modern times cooking techniques, be more and more dependent on technology, not necessarily towards better food?

Those who are in the know will agree sambal taste better when pounded with granite and the nasi lemak it accompanies much better slurped off fingers than cutlery. Fried chicken with a pair of knife and fork? After reading Jane Kramer's A Fork of One's Own (which I highly recommend for anyone who cooks and eats), I began to understand, why, despite it's size and (perhaps ill perceived) shortcomings, I love the kitchen I have.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

While I don't have floor to ceiling glass doors, an island, a dishwasher, an oven that cleans itself or an eleven-foot solid wood dining table right next to an open-plan shelving system with rotating pull-out racks and a coffee machine nook, this small space is where the magic happens. My little sanctuary with small windows and overhanging laundry is where my sweat flows along (what I hope to be) creative juices.

As a consolation to myself, I can proudly say till today I don't find a need for any more knives than a good, sharp, chefs knife, a serrated bread knife, a small paring knife and a heavy, bad-ass Chinese cleaver. The latest addition of things-I-don't-need-but-have-to-own is a clay pot. You will see why in a year.
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Adapted from Isabella's Lemon Meringue Cupcakes, first seen here.
Yield 12 standard size cupcakes

Note: While the Junior Masterchef's challenge was to finish the dish in 40 minutes, I was in no such hurry, so I passed the lemon curd twice (lumps do form when you cook it over direct heat) and used a more stable and delicious Italian meringue instead.

  • 250 mililiters/1 cup thickened cream
  • 220 grams/1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 225 grams/1 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
Lemon curd
  • 125 mililiters/1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 100 grams butter
  • 110 grams/1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
Italian Meringue
  • 6.6 ounces/186 grams sugar
  • 3 ounces/84 grams water
  • 90 grams/3 egg whites
  • pinch of cream of tartar, optional

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Place 12 cupcake liners in a 12 hole 1/2-cup capacity muffin pan. Place cream, sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Gradually add flour and zest and continue whisking until mixture is thick and smooth. Divide mixture between prepared liners and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cakes spring back to touch. Cool in muffin pan.

Make the lemon curd: Meanwhile, heat lemon juice and butter in a small saucepan and simmer until butter has melted. Add sugar, egg and yolks and cook, whisking continuously until mixture becomes thick and glossy. Pour into a wide bowl to cool. Refrigerate to cool further while preparing the meringue.

Make the meringue: Combine sugar and water in a small pot over medium-high heat. Clip a candy thermometer onto the pot. Without stirring, bring the syrup to a boil and let it cook gently until the temperature reaches 115°C/240°F. Meanwhile, place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, begin whisking the egg whites when the syrup just begin to bubble on the stove. Start whisking on medium low until the whites begin to foam all over, then increase speed to medium high. Whisk until medium stiff peaks form and stop the mixer.

Once the syrup has reached 115°C/240°F (soft ball stage) and the whites have been whipped to soft peaks, restart the mixer and gradually pour the syrup in a small stream into the egg whites, whisking on medium high continuously. Be careful not to allow the sugar syrup to fall on the beaters. Continue whisking until the bowl of the mixer is at body temperature and not warm to the touch anymore. (This took me a good 15 minutes.) Prepare a piping bag with a swirl nozzle attached and fill the bag with some of the meringue. Meringue keeps well in a sealed piping bag at room temperature for at least a few hours.

Assemble the cupcakes: Cut a small hole off the top of each cupcake (I used a 1-inch diameter round cookie cutter) and fill with 1-2 teaspoons of the lemon curd. Pipe a swirl of meringue on the top of each cupcake. Brown the meringue with a blow torch or and place under a medium-high grill for 60-90 seconds or until golden.

Do ahead: Cupcakes and curd can be made 1 day ahead. Italian meringue is best made the day off, it will hold its shape well till the next day at room temperature.

18 Comments on Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Ha ha ha. I got a clay pot couple months back from a dollar store at a bargain price! Only Lord knows why!

Posted by Blogger Pei-Lin, at Apr 9, 2013, 11:52:00 PM  

Is there a step missing in the meringue? What do you do with the syrup?

Posted by Blogger Unknown, at Apr 10, 2013, 1:15:00 AM  

Pei-Lin: The traditional clay pot is so cheap the auntie at the barang shop told me "No guarantee one ah!"

marie: It's now fixed. Thanks for the pointer!

Posted by Blogger PickYin, at Apr 10, 2013, 6:27:00 AM  

Your cupcakes look absolutely gorgeous, I love your photos! The lemon curd and meringue topping look so delicious too!

Posted by Anonymous Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen, at Apr 10, 2013, 9:27:00 PM  

oh wow they look delicious and your frosting is beautiful!

Posted by Anonymous Dina, at Apr 11, 2013, 6:49:00 AM  

oh wow these look fantastic! and i love your plates.

Posted by Blogger Katie Mar, at Apr 11, 2013, 12:13:00 PM  

Thanks. Your cakes always look so delicious! I swear one day I will try making them!

Posted by Blogger Unknown, at Apr 12, 2013, 12:02:00 AM  

Rosie: Thanks, do try these, they're quite decent and my friends liked them.

Thanks Dina and Kate Mar.

marie: You should make them!

Posted by Blogger PickYin, at Apr 15, 2013, 10:05:00 AM  

Delicious! And the photos are stunner! Love that you torched the meringue :D

Posted by Anonymous Kiran @, at Apr 15, 2013, 1:38:00 PM  

The cupcakes look divine! Amazing! :)

Posted by Anonymous Mountbatten PR, at Apr 18, 2013, 1:12:00 PM  

If this isn't food porn, then I don't know what is. Great blog and amazing photos to boot! Wow! Btw tried out your recipe for marble cake. Awesome, yes, yes!!


Posted by Anonymous Anonymous, at Apr 20, 2013, 5:18:00 PM  

Looks absolutely delish!

Posted by Anonymous mycookinghut, at Apr 21, 2013, 6:33:00 PM  

What piping tip did you use for the meringue?

Posted by Blogger Lauren, at Apr 27, 2013, 5:33:00 AM  

Amazing amazing amazing! I featured these cupcakes on my blog today for the best Mother's Day recipes, hope you don't mind! :)

Posted by Blogger Unknown, at May 9, 2013, 5:30:00 AM  

can't wait to see the photographs that you have! this is the second time I've seen these cupcakes and i've yet to try them. going to try soon i promise!

Posted by Anonymous Janine, at May 9, 2013, 12:14:00 PM  

Lauren: Sorry for the late reply! I used a large open star tip.

Posted by Blogger PickYin, at May 10, 2013, 10:29:00 AM  

Looks absolutely beautiful! I would so love to try some.

Posted by Anonymous Spencer, at May 16, 2013, 7:57:00 AM  

Hi there!
I would like to ask whether the meringue would be able to hold in our weather, and for how long when I'm outside.
Is there an alternative frosting that you would recommend for this cupcake because I'm just a beginner at baking.
Thanks! (:

Posted by Anonymous Meredith, at Jun 25, 2013, 10:35:00 AM  

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