So, did the title of the blog get you riled up? No worries, I’ve no intention of starting a turf war nor am I trying to stick labels on anyone. I was just pondering the other day where I fall in the baking scheme of things, and thought it was an interesting topic.
As a baker, I definitely fall more into the cake category than the pie category. I love to eat pie and I’m pretty happy with my pie making skills, it just isn’t something that floats my boat the same way that making cake or cookies does. Maybe it’s a bit like fashion. I can admire and even desire to own a stunning pair of stiletto heels, but I just don’t want to wear them any more. Too much trouble on the tootsies.
As a pie maker, I would tend to want perfect crimps and decorative borders. I’d want cutouts and colored sugars and more, more, more filling. Our pie making tools are getting fancier and more sophisticated all the time and that is definitely a boon to my pantry, but my heart as a baker lies elsewhere.
Still and all, when I itch to get in the kitchen, it is usually buttercream that is calling my name, or ganache whispering sweet nothings in my ear. Is that bad? Is it wrong? Not to me it isn’t. Taking time to get comfortable in your own baker’s skin is important. But it does sometimes leave me in a conundrum…
how do you cope with wanting pie flavor but not wanting to make pie? The answer is you make pie flavored cupcakes! Take the very best part of lemon meringue pie ie:the filling and the topping and combine those with a flavorful cupcake and you’ve got a hit.
Let’s make Lemon Meringue Cupcakes.
The batch of cupcakes makes 12, so whip them up according to the recipe and allow them to cool completely.
I sacrificed one cupcake so that you could see the very tender and fine crumb inside. The smell of these cupcakes is wonderful, especially if you get to use the Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor. Why the Buttery Flavor instead of the Princess Cake and Cookie? I think for this particular recipe, it gives a flavor that reminds me slightly of pie dough and bread dough. I love the Princess too, but it has a touch of lemon that I didn’t want to use with the lemon filling. If you have the Buttery Flavor in the cupboard, give it a try and see what you think.
With a small spoon, fill each cupcake to the brim with the curd. These cupcakes are nice and level so you shouldn’t get any spill over.
Umm, yeah. “Shouldn’t” is a loose term, right?
Set the cupcakes aside to firm up while you prepare the meringue. You can absolutely make meringue from scratch, but I really love the convenience of prepared meringue powder.
To make a large batch of meringue, dissolve 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in 1/2 cup of boiling water. Cool until it is room temperature.
Add 1/4 cup of meringue powder, stirring until dissolved.
Gradually increase the speed of the mixer, whipping on high speed for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the meringue is fluffy and cloud-like. When you dip the point of your finger in (Shut the machine off first!!) and pull it out, you should have a nice pointed stiff peak.
I happen to like the mild flavor of the powdered mix, but at this stage you could add a touch more vanilla if desired.
Just not into ready-made meringue? Here’s how to do it from scratch:
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
In a large bowl, mix egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. Beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. This is not a cooked sugar meringue, so be sure to use pasteurized eggs, or liquid egg whites sold in cartons.
This meringue pipes beautifully. I wanted to play with the idea of showing off the filling, so I piped around the edge of the cupcake. Can you see the difference in color for this filling? I didn’t add any yellow food coloring, so this is how the curd looks “au naturale”. You can use a plain tip, or a star tip to get more whirls and swirls.
For those of you who love the meringue more than the filling, you can pipe on plenty…
that’s right, plenty! How tempting would it be to just pick up one of these and give it a big kiss, right in the middle? You’d be sticky but happy as can be.
To brown the meringue, you can use a handheld cook’s torch, a blowtorch (favorite tool in professional kitchens) or your broiler. If you are broiling, keep the door open a crack so that you can monitor the cupcakes closely.
Ta-da! A whole tray full of decadent desserts in a flash.
Like flowing sand dunes in the sweetest desert on Earth.
Browning the meringue under the broiler will heat the whole cupcake more than using a torch will. Eating the cupcake with warm curd is fine. When you cut into the cake, you get a gorgeous flow of lemon lava, ready to be scooped up with a bit of crisp and fluffy meringue. I honestly couldn’t decide if I liked them better warm, or after cooling. Guess it’s time to make another batch and test taste some more!
Now is your chance to weigh in on our title. Where do you feel you fit in to the baking world? Are you a Cupcake Katie or King of the Yeasts? Pie all the time, or is crust a crime? We want to hear from you. (just remember, play nice and be polite)
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 (14 ounce can) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
Real Food Chocolate Coconut Protein Bar
Rich with coconut and just a hint of sweet chocolate, this bar was inspired by MOUNDS®. It will satisfy any candy bar craving that comes your way and give you more than fuel to keep pushing through the day.
Makes two bars approximately 350 calories & 10g protein each
¼ cup fresh dates, room temperature & roughly chopped
¼ cup cashews (buy here)
4 Tbsp hemp hearts (buy here) (or chia seeds)
2 Tbsp coconut flakes, unsweetened (buy here)
1 tsp vanilla extract (buy here)
1 Tbsp chocolate pieces, finely chopped (buy here)
1 Tbsp coconut chips (buy here)
1 tsp coconut oil (buy here)
1. Place dates in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine nuts, hemp and coconut flakes in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds to 1 minute – until nuts have released their oils and large chunks become very small. Add extract and pulse again for 10 seconds.
2. Add nut mixture to the dates and knead together with your hands, breaking up larger chunks of dates while massaging the mixture together. Knead until everything is thoroughly combined and sticky, approximately 1 minute.
3. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and continue to knead until everything is evenly distributed, especially the coconut oil. The mixture is done when it retains its shape when squeezed into a small ball.
4. Eat immediately or pour the mixture into a mold, packing down firmly. The tighter it’s packed, the better the bar will turn out.
5. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Slide a knife gently around the edges to loosen the bar and turn the mold over to remove. Wrap individually and store bars in the refrigerator or freezer.
- ½ C butter
- ½ C applesauce
- 3/4 C sugar
- 2 whole eggs and 4 egg whites
- 2⅔ C flour
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 4 overripe bananas- add one at a time
- Browned Butter Glaze:
- ¼ C butter, browned on stove
- 2 C powdered sugar
- ¾ tsp vanilla
- 2-3 Tbsp lowfat milk
- Blend for 2 minutes on high to mix well, batter will appear glossy.
- Place half the batter into a gallon ziplock baggie, snip the end off, fill donut pan ⅔ the way full or pour into lined muffin tins.
- Bake at 350 degrees.
- Donuts 7-9 minutes, muffins 18-20 minutes.
- Donuts are done when spring back with a light touch and lightly browned.
- Muffins are done when an inserted toothpick removes clean.
- Cool in pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn out on rack to finish cooling.
- In a small sauce pan on melt butter over medium high heat, watch carefully when it reaches a medium brown color and nutty aroma remove from heat.
- Whisk in 1 C powdered sugar at a time, adding 1 Tbsp milk as it thickens; adjust milk as necessary so it’s thick enough to stay on top of donuts.
- Add vanilla, whisk until smooth.
- Drizzle hot over the tops of donuts or muffins.
- Will set as cools so work quickly.
- Cool and Enjoy!