Lemon Meringue pie! The craving hit like a bolt of tart, sweet, luscious lightening! Right then and there, it was decided what the weekend's dessert would be.
As days counted down to Saturday (and the available time to make the pie), I realized a gluten-free pastry crust just didn't measure up to the good old Crisco gluten-FULL crust of my memory. Hmmmm. Okay, instead of a disappointing GF crust, how about a cupcake to cradle the citrusy, lemony curd? Done.
That lemon curd I'd been craving all week? Blood oranges and Meyer lemons seemingly beckoned from the fridge. Suddenly the lemon meringue craving turned into something just a little more exotic, more exciting.
Saturday came...finally. While the cupcakes baked, the curd came together in a jiffy and when the adorable cakes emerged from the oven, the curd was already quick-chilling.
Once all the parts were ready to roll, the little cakes were hollowed out and filled with the orange-y, lemon-y custard. Meringue was whipped into sweet, white clouds while filled cupcakes chilled in the fridge. Last of all, the meringue fluff was piled on top and popped into the oven to brown. Gorgeous!
I'm not gonna lie...it was a lot of effort, but SO worth it! Hmmmm....I'm just thinking about maybe a coconut cupcake filled with key lime curd, crowned with a browned, coconut kissed meringue. I'm also thinking that might possibly be this year's Parrothead cupcake for the Buffet concert...WITH a Margarita, of course!
Gluten-Free Blood Orange Meyer Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
- 1 package yellow cake mix, Hodgson Mill Gluten-Free
- 1/2 package instant vanilla pudding mix
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice (or 2 T. lemon juice AND 2 T. orange juice)
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup fresh blood orange juice (or regular fresh o.j.)
- 1/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (or regular lemon juice)
- 6 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 T. grated orange zest
- 1 stick butter, room temp
- 4 egg whites
- 3 T. sugar
Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners into 12 cupcake pan holes.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, mix the cake mix, dry instant pudding, buttermilk, juices, oil and eggs until everything is mixed, scrape down sides of bowl and mix on medium another minute until well incorporated.
Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.
Bake approximately 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Don't overbake. Cool completely on racks. Once they are completely cool, hollow out the centers with about a 1" hole - do NOT go all the way to the bottom. Set aside.
Curd: In the top of a double boiler (or a heat-proof bowl over simmering water in a pot), mix sugar, juices, eggs and yolks, zest and salt. Whisk the mixtures constantly until it becomes very thick and silky. Do NOT let it come to a boil. Remove from heat and cool. (I quick cooled the curd in the freezer, stirring often so it didn't freeze. Once the mixture is chilled completely, move to the fridge until you're ready to fill the cupcakes.)
Assembly: Fill the hollows of the cupcakes with the curd. Chill again while making the meringue.
Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites to a froth. Add the sugar gradually, continuing to whip until they come to a stiff peak. Top each filled cupcake with meringue. Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven until the peaks of the meringue are beautifully browned. Remove from oven. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
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