Sunday, April 1, 2012

Meyer Lemon Limoncello Cupcakes

I'm sure it must be Spring somewhere, it just doesn't seem to want to be Spring in Seattle.  Oh, we are getting teased, sunny blue skies,bright yellow daffodils and pink blossoms swirling to the ground.  But just when we get our hopes up,here come the huge dark grey clouds and pelting rain,sleet and lately snow.   I would love to fast forward to summer and away from this rain.  I know that Spring in Seattle equals rain,winds,blue skies,grey skies and tumultuous weather, but deep down in my soul I long for warmth,gentle breezes and blue skies.  I'm either going to have to move or accept Seattle and it's crazy weather.  Opening a bottle of Limoncello to use in this recipe didn't help matters either.  That first sweet scent of fresh lemons took me right to a balcony in Positano overlooking the Mediterranean.  At the end of each day we would sit on the edge of the pool with a cold glass of Limoncello and toast our good fortune .

A deep blue sky that went on forever , the sun so warm and the breezes just perfect-thank goodness for sweet memories.  They will have to get me through this wet Spring along with the remains of my Limoncello !

Since I went a little crazy at the grocery store earlier this week with my purchase of Meyer Lemons, I've been searching for recipes that I haven't tried before. I was enticed by one of Helene's postings on her blog Tartelette . Her blog is so beautiful and her photography always inspires me. This recipe has a few steps to it, but trust me they are well worth the time.

Meyer Lemon Limoncello Cupcakes:Makes 12
Thanks to Tartelette
For the cupcakes:
2 oz (60gr)unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 oz(60gr) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (200gr)sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons (30gr) limoncello
1½ cups (190gr) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup(125ml) buttermilk
1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
zest of one Meyer lemon

Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the center.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the limoncello and beat an extra minute. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively to the butter/eggs mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Add the lemon juice and zest. Fill cupcake tins 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Meyer Lemon Curd
I used Diane Morgan's recipe that I found at Leite's Culinaria
Yield: 4 -1/2pint jars

6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)
2 tablespoonsgrated Meyer lemon zest (from about 4 lemons)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, eggs, and sugar. Whisk in the lemon juice. Transfer to a double boiler and cook the curd over barely simmering water, whisking constantly, until the lemon mixture thickens and reaches 170°F (76°C) on an instant-read thermometer. (The mixture will be very foamy on top.) Remove the pan from the heat. Strain the curd into a bowl. Immediately whisk in the lemon zest and butter until the mixture is smooth and emulsified.

Meyer Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Helene's Recipe
makes approximately 1 1/2 cups
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of 1-2 lemons, or to taste

In a double boiler, combine the egg whites, sugar, salt and cream of tartar. Use a hand held mixer to beat until the mixture becomes too hot to comfortably touch - approximately 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat and transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk. Continue to beat until you have stiff peaks. Add the butter a few pieces at a time, beating the mixture thoroughly. Lastly, beat in the vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Use at room temperature.

To assemble:Cut a whole into each cupcake with a melon baller or the back end of a large pastry tip. Fill each cavity with the lemon curd. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the buttercream frosting and pipe onto each cupcake. Decorate with candied lemon peel or berries if desired.

I have just a few more Meyer lemons remaining,perhaps candied peels ?  But first, maybe a little bite of this sweet little cupcake ? Bon Appetit .

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