Lately it seems as if every other blogger I follow has been baking with, cooking with, or simply just extolling the absolute greatness of the Meyer lemon. And it has been making me feel guilty. Why? Because I have a Meyer lemon tree in my backyard, and I hardly ever use it. I feel so shamed.
I guess when it comes to desserts, we’re generally not big lemon people. And for savory foods? I hate to admit it, but when I’m trying to get dinner on the table with a toddler hanging around my legs I usually just grab the bottled stuff. Horrible, I know. But sometimes easy is more important than perfection. (And I vow that once said toddler is older/in school I will use more fresh lemons rather than bottled lemon juice.)
But I decided that it was time for me to jump on the Meyer bandwagon and use some of them, hence these cupcakes. These are so moist and delicious! I topped them with a frosting that I’ve made before and absolutely love—the pistachio frosting from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook (which, by the way, is one of the most crazy-awesome baking cookbooks ever). The lemon and pistachio combination is fantastic! And since I feel that cupcakes always look best with a garnish, I made some candied Meyer lemon peel to top them off with.
Mini Meyer Lemon Cupcakes with Pistachio Frosting and Candied Lemon Peel
Mini Meyer Lemon Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons grated Meyer lemon zest
1/2 cup whole milk
1) Place a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line mini muffin tins with paper or foil liners.
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest, beating until well incorporated.
4) Add half the flour mixture, and mix on low speed until almost incorporated. Add the milk and blend. Add the rest of the flour mixture, and mix until almost incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and finish incorporating the ingredients by hand with a spatula.
5) Fill the cupcake liners between 2/3 and 3/4 full. Bake for 10-14 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean.
6) Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 30 mini cupcakes
1/2 cup (1 stick, 115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (40 g) confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup (230 g) pistachio paste
1/2 teaspoon (2 g) kosher salt
1) Combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow.
2) Add the pistachio paste and salt, and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Turn the mixer up to medium-high, and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. If the mixture is not the same pale green color throughout mix for another minute on high speed, and scrape down again.
Frosting can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Makes 1 3/4 cups
From the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook, by Christina Tosi
Candied Lemon Peel
4-6 lemons (I used Meyer lemons)
4 cups water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
Additional sugar for coating
1) Use a paring knife to strip the outer rind (the yellow portion) from the lemons. It’s okay to have a small amount of pith (the white portion), but not a thick layer. Slice the rinds into fine strips, about 1/4-inch wide.
2) Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the lemon rinds and boil for 5-10 minutes. Drain.
3) Combine the remaining 2 cups of water and the 2 cups of sugar in the saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Ass the lemon peels and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until peels are translucent and very tender, about 20-30 minutes.
4) Remove the peels from the syrup, drain and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Toss the peels in additional sugar to coat, then spread them in a single layer on a piece of parchment or wax paper and allow them to dry completely, 4-6 hours. Store in an airtight container.