Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lemon Meringue Cupcake

A friend of mine had posted a blog that featured a cupcake challenge based on the Martha Stewart Cupcake Cookbook.  Each month there is one cupcake featured and you are to bake that cupcake.  I have not personally signed up for this challenge, especially since I do not own the cookbook.  I do want try the recipes so I looked at the Martha Stewart website and found some of the featured cupcakes.

I decided I would give the Lemon Meringue Cupcakes a whirl.  I am so glad I did.  I love the tartness of the lemons.  This just hit the right button...

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
by Martha Stewart


Makes 24

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 3 tablespoons), plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk


1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

2.With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in zest and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.

3.Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

4.To finish, spread 1 tablespoon lemon curd onto middle of each cupcake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip (Ateco #828 or Wilton #8B) with frosting. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, swirling tip slightly and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Hold a small kitchen torch 3 to 4 inches from surface of frosting, and wave it back and forth until frosting is lightly browned all over. Serve immediately.

Lemon Curd:
8 large egg yolks
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces


1.Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8 to 10 minutes, and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

2.Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Seven-Minute Frosting:
Makes about 8 cups

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites, room temperature


1.Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees.

2.Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.

3.As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.

Spicy Tuscan Soup

It was really could this past weekend.  I'm not kidding like 0 degrees at night.  BRRR...  It was definitely a weekend to stay inside and keep warm.  While staying warm I decided to work on my weekly menu, yes I'm back to making them.  I wanted to have atleast a soup and sandwich night. 

As I was looking around the internet I found myself on the Pioneer Women's website.  Then I meandered over to the Tasty Kitchen section.  One of the featured recipes caught my eye.  It was a Spicy Tuscan Soup.  Oh yum that sounded great.

I made it this past Monday night for dinner and had a sandwich with it. 

Spicy Tuscan Soup
by iamcaressa
via Tasty Kitchen

•1 pound Spicy Breakfast Sausage
•1 whole Medium Red Onion, Diced
•2 slices Bacon, Diced
•3 cloves Garlic, Minced
•3 whole Medium Potatoes
•1 quart Water
•3 cubes Chicken Bouillon
•¼ bunches Kale, Roughly Chopped
•½ cups Heavy Cream
•Salt And Pepper, to taste
Crumble sausage into a dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until cooked through. Drain and set aside.

Chop onions and dice bacon; add to the dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium and cook until onions are clear. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ slices. Add warm water, bouillon cubes and potatoes and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until potatoes are almost done.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 more minutes. Let cool and serve with warm garlic breadsticks.

Beef & Veggie Pot Pies

Who doesn't like a decent pot pie once in a while, especially during these New England winters.  I usually make chicken pot pies but really wasn't in the mood for them.  I had some beef stew meat and didn't want stew again (had it a couple weeks ago).  So I sat down at the computer and looked up a recipe for Beef Pot Pies. 

The one that interested me the most was by Ina Garten.  Her recipe called for saffron and Pernod.  When I read the recipe I was like what the Hey is Pernod???  I opted to leave out the saffron and Pernod. 

Vegetable Pot Pie
by Ina Garten

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2 cups sliced yellow onions (2 onions)
1 fennel bulb, top and core removed, thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups good chicken stock
1 tablespoon Pernod  (omitted)
Pinch saffron threads (omitted)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups large-diced potatoes (1/2 pound)
1 1/2 cups asparagus tips
1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced carrots (4 carrots)
1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced butternut squash (omitted)
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (1/2 pound) (omitted)
1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

For the pastry: (I used premade pastry dough)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper


Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, Pernod, saffron, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the asparagus, carrots, and squash to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, onions, and parsley to the sauce and mix well.

For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.