Archive for ‘December, 2012’

Meyer Lemon Curd and Thyme Cupcakes

Meyer Lemon Curd and Thyme Cupcakes

These are really fresh-tasting, tart, and delicious.

I used 4 Meyer lemons for this recipe, but you may need more or fewer.  This would be fine with regular lemons, as there’s plenty of sugar to go around in this recipe.

This recipe is cobbled together from many others.  Special thanks to Local Kitchen for teaching me to make curd in the first place.

Meyer Lemon Curd and Thyme Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes

To start:

Zest and squeeze 4 Meyer lemons.  You might need more, but this is a good starting point.

For the cakes:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups self-rising flour (Don’t have any?  Google and there are tons of recipes.)
  • 1/4 of the zest

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pans with 24 cupcake papers.

2. Place cream, sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Gradually add flour and zest and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth.

3. Divide mixture between prepared liners and bake for 20 minutes or until cakes are lightly browned and spring back when gently poked. Cool thoroughly.

For the curd:

  • 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice, plus half the zest
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, cut up
  • pinch salt
  1. Place the zest in a heatproof bowl with a fine strainer over it.
  2. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan whisk together the juice, eggs, sugar and salt. Add butter and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the foam subsides and the curd is thick enough to heavily coat the back of the spoon, about 10 – 15 minutes.  Don’t let it boil.
  3. Pour the curd through the strainer into the bowl with the zest, pressing curd through the strainer. Scrape any curd from the underside of the strainer into bowl and stir gently to incorporate zest. Refrigerate for a couple of hours to set.

Assemble:

  1. “Core” your cooled cupcakes.  I used an apple corer and went about 3/4 of the way down.  I took the crusty top off the core and reserved it to plug the hole.  Those cores are your snacky reward for all of this hard work.
  2. Put the cold curd in a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and fill the cupcakes, leaving a bit of space at the top so that when you plug the hole, it’s level with the top of the cupcake. Core, fill, and plug them all.

Icing:

  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp. Meyer lemon juice, plus 1/4 of the zest
  • 2 tsp. packed fresh thyme leaves, separated
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  1.  Whisk the sour cream, lemon juice, zest, 1 tsp. thyme, and salt together until smooth.  Whisk in sugar until smooth.
  2. Let sit 10 minutes until it firms up a bit.
Final assembly:
  1. Place cupcakes on a rack and spoon icing on top.  Garnish with more fresh thyme leaves.
  2. Let icing set for 30 minutes and serve.
3 Comments

Horatio and Oren Mittens

I’m not even doing any actual Christmas knitting this year, but I’m knitting like I am.  This week alone, I’ve finished 4 projects.  I think my favorite is this pair of mittens.

Horatio and Oren Mittens

Pattern: Horatio and Oren by Barbara Gregory
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Tweed in 5302 (ivory) and Rowan Scottish Tweed DK in 007 (charcoal)
Needle: size 2.5US for the mitten and 3US for the thumb
Gauge: 21 sts = 4″, so larger than the largest adult size in the pattern

Horatio and Oren's Butts

I changed these a bit to suit my fit taste and the yarns I had on hand.  Without even realizing it, I chose an Aran weight yarn for the contrast color.  It looked like it was the same diameter as the charcoal, but it’s nowhere near as squishy.  So, I ended up with a larger gauge and figured I’d line the mittens.

Since the mittens were quite large and I wanted them to stay on well, I cast on fewer stitches (4/5) for the ribbing and increased before I started the colorwork.  They’re actually really comfy like they are and stay on fine, so I think I’ll leave them as they are.

Do you do like I do and use a larger needle for the thumb?  I could see in the pattern photos that the sample knitter had the same issue that I do- knitting a very small circumference makes for a much tighter gauge than knitting a larger one on the same needles.   I went up half a needle size for this pair and could have gone up more.  I went up two full sizes on mittens I’m currently making and that did the trick perfectly.

The pattern is very fun to knit and the product couldn’t be lovelier.  I recommend it!

Tree Cutting

The mittens are shown laid out on our Christmas tree, which we cut yesterday at the coolest farm. The people at Pieropan Christmas Tree Farm practice “stump culture” to grow trees repeatedly from the same stump.  Some of their stumps are more than 50 years old!  Isn’t it strange to see someone cutting a tree that starts at eye level?!  It was so interesting to look at the landscape that’s created by these trees growing on trees.