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Recipe: Lemon Cupcake Filled Gems

December 2, 2008
Recipe by Eileen Talanian

The delicate lemon flavor of these mini cupcakes pairs well with the tart, creamy flavor of the Lemon Curd. You can also top them off with Sweetened Whipped Cream, or dust them with confectioners’ sugar. If you want to make them ahead, bake the cupcakes and freeze them unfrosted according to the instructions on the Recipe Guidelines page. The Lemon Curd can be made up to 2 weeks ahead, and stored in the fridge in a covered jar.

1/2 cup (4 ounces) either European Style or regular butter, unsalted, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, from an egg graded large
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup milk, divided into two equal parts
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/4 cups cake flour
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest, firmly packed
4 egg whites from eggs graded large (1/2 cup)

Preheat a conventional oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Move the oven racks so that they divide the oven into thirds. Line twelve-well mini-cupcake pans with paper liners and place them on baking sheets.

In a small bowl or 1-cup measuring cup, set aside the egg whites and half of the milk. Place all of the remaining ingredients into the mixer bowl and beat on low for about 30 seconds, or until they are blended. Increase the speed to medium high and beat for 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl and add the remaining milk and egg whites.

Beat on low until the liquids are mixed in (about 10-15 seconds) and then increase the speed to medium and beat for two minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and give the batter a few stirs to be sure it is evenly mixed.

Scoop a rounded tablespoonful of batter into each of the wells in the prepared mini-cupcake pans. (If you are making standard sized cupcakes, use 3 rounded tablespoons of batter for each.)

Place the cupcake pans, on the baking sheets, in the oven. Bake for about 14-16 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a wooden pick stuck in the center of the cupcakes comes out almost clean.

Lemon Curd
Remove the pans from the oven, turn them over to remove the cupcakes, and set the cupcakes right side up on a wire rack to cool. They should be completely cooled before either frosting or freezing them. (Makes 1-1/2 cups)

Lemon Curd is a tangy, full-flavored lemon custard that is quickly made on the stove. Pastry chefs use it to fill cakes and pastries, to flavor Buttercreams, fill tarts and tartlets, and many other similar uses. It will last for several days in the refrigerator.

Just be sure not to boil the curd while you are cooking it, and stir it constantly to avoid curdling the eggs. After it is finished, pour the curd into a shallow dish and immediately press plastic wrap onto the entire surface of the curd.

If you don’t do this, a film will form on the top and your lovely Lemon Curd will become lumpy.

3 eggs graded large
1 egg yolk from an egg graded large
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons (about 2 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon pure lemon oil (optional)
1/2 cup (4 ounces, or 1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8 pieces

Place all of the ingredients except the butter into a 4-cup saucepan and mix thoroughly with a wire whisk. Add the butter to the pan and place it over medium heat, stirring constantly and thoroughly with a heatproof spatula.

The mixture will start to thicken. Do not let it boil, but keep it over the heat, stirring, for another minute after it thickens.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the Lemon Curd into a food processor or blender and process for about 30 seconds.

Pour the Curd into a shallow dish and immediately press plastic wrap over the surface. Cool in the refrigerator before using.

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