This indoor sport is taking a firm hold, and I am getting adventurous with my projects. Today I decided to try making Lemon Meringue Cupcakes as a housewarming gift for my son and his girlfriend who are moving into their new home tomorrow. I found this recipe on the ‘net. As an American recipe, the amounts were in ‘cups’, so I had to find a conversion for that, and I found one by Delia. Making the cupcakes was simple enough, but I found the addition of ‘buttermilk’ a bit perplexing. I discovered that in the UK you can substitute natural yoghurt and milk – 4:1. American’s use ‘All Purpose Flour’ which translates as Plain Flour in English.
Once they were cooked and cooled, I used a cupcake ‘corer’ to remove a section in the middle and fill it with a teaspoon of lemon curd. I was going to make this myself, but thought better of it and bought a jar in ASDA. So far, so good.
The most technically tricky thing for me was the meringue. I have never made this before. I recall seeing a similar technique on the Great British Bake-Off when the contestants were making Tea Cakes but discovered it was slightly different. So, it started with whisking egg whites while heating sugar and water and (says the recipe) Corn Syrup. So that isn’t a British product. Glucose Syrup is the nearest equivalent and by searching the ‘net found that ASDA sell tubes of Glucose Syrup for £1.04. So I had earlier made a foray to ASDA and found them lurking in the baking aisle. I had also bought a food thermometer from Lakeland as the sugar syrup needed to be heated to 230 Deg F. It didn’t take long to reach 200F but painfully longer to climb to 230. However, as soon as it had, took the pan off the heat and with the help of my daughter holding the hand-held electric whisk, I poured the hot sugar syrup into the bowl and she whisked it in gradually. It’s called “7 minute frosting”, and you whisk the mixture on full for 7 minutes until the heat of the sugar cools, and in so doing has cooked the raw egg white. It turns into a cloud-light and cloud-like marshmallow. I decided to try and fill a piping bag with it, rather like putting feathers in a pillow, more went everywhere but in. The piping bag when full felt strangely light, but I managed to pipe whirls of meringue on top of the cupcakes and lemon curd.
Not content with that, but I then had to use a cook’s blowtorch I had just acquired to brown off the meringue. That was fun – trying not to singe the paper cases or over-brown the meringue. A light touch was needed.
After that, we treated ourselves to a cup of tea and one of the fruits of our labours in the garden, and a well-deserved rest. The dishwasher took care of the washing up!