Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rocky Mountain High Meyer Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

I love days like this.  Snow on the mountains, Sunshine and two cases of Meyer lemons.

I've lived in Colorado for almost 14 years and I still pause each time I see the Colorado Rockies covered in snow on a bright sunny day.  It's nothing short of spectacular!

This brings me to the second reason for this particular post.  Two cases of Meyer lemons arrived on my doorstep today.  They were sent by one of my California clients who claimed she had more then she could use. I jokingly said to send them my way (they are my absolute favorite ingredient in the world).....and she did! Love you, Mrs. D.!!

So... What to do? What to do? 

I remember a place in Fredericksburg, Texas called, The Rather Sweet Bakery, where the owner/pastry chef ( Rebecca Rather) was famous for a dessert called, "Texas Big Hairs, lemon-lime meringue tarts".  The name still makes me laugh.  

I decided to borrow her idea to a point, but I wanted to take it in a different direction.  So, I came up with a cupcake filled with Meyer Lemon Curd, topped with high peaks of lemon zest studded cooked Meringue, and the tips are nicely toasted for a dramatic effect. 

 In truth, other bloggers have done similar cupcakes, but they are so pedestrian and skimpy, they do not represent the spectacular peaks of our "Rocky Mountain High" (or TRUE Texas Big Hairs.!!).  Sometimes you have to show off, and these my friends, will do it every time!

Rocky Mountain High Meyer Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Use your favorite vanilla cupcake recipe, or use a mix.

Pipe a few tablespoons of lemon curd, homemade or store bought, into each cupcake. No need to cut a hole first, just push your pastry tip straight in, and squeeze.

Cooked Meringue: 
2 cup sugar
8 egg whites
pinch, cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Whisk eggs, sugar and cream of tarter in a heat proof bowl that fits easily over a pan of boiling water (make sure the bowl is not bigger then the pan, as the eggs will cook along side of the pan). Continue whisking the egg mixture until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture heats to 160 degree F. Remove bowl from the heat. Using a hand mixer, beat egg whites until light, fluffy and cool. About 8 minutes. Once cool, add vanilla. Use at once.

To toast tops: I have a large blow torch I bought at a home improvement store for less then $30. Honestly, the ones they sell at most gourmet stores are a waste of money, are too tiny and do not have the fire power mine has.  Also, to replace the butane it is only $3, and I can find the refill at every hardware store in any part of small town America.  So, go out to the garage..that blowtorch you have hidden away is a very highly rated KITCHEN tool. It's time you gave it some use!!

Yes, this was really, really amazing!  

Here's to Hope, Sunny days, and big fluffy lemon meringue cupcakes!

Chef Deb T.


Kimberly Kay said...

These look AMAZING! I wish I would have had this recipe when my cousin from Phoneix recently came to visit - carrying with her 20+ lbs of lemons from her backyard! We cooked with half of them and I juiced the rest of them. Now I plan to use some of the frozen juice to make these beauties! Thanks for the idea!

Chef Deb T said...

Hi Kimberly,

Oh, to have too many lemons in my back yard....(sigh)!

I love lemon and tart lemon desserts. Especially when we are about to dive into chocolate season..

Take photos of your cupcakes, I would love to see how they turned out!

Chef Deb T

Cathy said...

WOW - these look sooo good. I am teaching a citrus class here next week, and I would love to use this recipe. Would that be OK with you Chef? I will give you credit, and also give them info about your blog.
Finding Meyer lemons is the hard part. None of the grocery stores in Laramie carry them - I'll just have to make a trip to Ft. Collins!

Chef Deb T said...

Hi Cathy,

Of course you can use the idea..I borrowed it myself. You can use any citrus you can get your hands on, (Texas grapefruit is nice, or blood oranges, clementines) as long as half the juice is lemon.

Cathy, this is also a good application for layered cakes and looks even more amazing if you can candy lemon slices.

Thanks for the comment, and good luck with the citrus class!

Chef Deb T

Cathy said...

thanks Deb - I am going to teach the class how to make curd, and do many variations. And how to do candied slices, I have some lemon ones right now. So today will be test day! Are your recipes adjusted for high altitude?

Chef Deb T said...


How high are you talking about? When I am at the ranch (9000 ft) it's harder to work with sugar. Evaporation is an issue, and sometimes the sugar has issues.
I would suggest using 1 Tbl of water with your egg whites when you make your meringue at altitudes over 5000 feet..test it first. You will also need to increase the cream of tarter (which helps prevent sugar crystallization), an extra pinch should do the trick.

Good luck
Chef Deb T.

Chef Deb T said...

To the couple that sent me such a lovely email saying they enjoy the blog...Thank you! It never gets old hearing that someone likes what you do..

I appreciate your email ! Thank you again!

Chef Deb