A friend had asked
me to provide a plate of goodies for an afternoon tea over the weekend. So wanting to do something a bit special, both for the afternoon tea and to give myself the pleasure of baking them, I decided to revisit the lemon meringue cupcakes which I had made for mothers day morning tea back in May.
The last time I made them I did everything on the one
day, beginning with the lemon butter, which made it a full day by the time I had finished the meringue. At the time, because I didn't want to get up early on mothers day myself to make meringue, I chose Italian meringue because of its stability. This means the meringue would still look good the next morning.
As strange as it might seem, I enjoy the ritual/intricacy of making Italian meringue. Somehow the extra attention to a more challenging recipe is therapeutic. Okay, not when it is a disaster, but still you learn from everything.
So after making the lemon butter last week, I did the batter for the cupcakes. Although I have a few recipes for cupcake batter which I really like, for expediency this time, I used the basic batter from the chocolate layer cake, (see post) with the addition of a good amount of zest and some leftover whipped cream I didn't want to waste.
This batter keeps well in the fridge for several days so that meant all I had to do was scoop it into patty tins Friday night and bake, leaving Saturday morning free for meringue making and filling the cakes with lemon butter.
Saturday morning the weather was much warmer than it had been for the previous week and I was able to throw open the windows whilst I began my final preparations.
At the same time I needed something for morning tea the next day and knowing there would be a surplus of meringue, chose the apricot meringue slice from the Womens Weekly Biscuit Book. This is a great book and although I haven't tried all the recipes, everything I have tried has worked well.
With apricots simmering on the stove and the base for the slice in the oven, I began the procedure of the sugar syrup for the meringue. It is a bit tricky to get it all timed well as the egg whites have to be whipped to soft peaks and then a bit more firmly before pouring the syrup in. The syrup also needs to reach certain temperatures so dodging between both can be challenging.
All went well with peaks and temperatures and the machine beat busily away while the mix cooled. In the meantime I am spreading cooked apricots onto the slice base.
I return to the mixmaster, the mixing bowl is still hot but the meringue doesn't look as silky as a few moments beforehand. When the mixer is stopped and I lift the beaters, I realise that I have overbeat the meringue and it is quite brittle. aaarrrggghhh!! oh well.
It did not pipe as smoothly onto the cupcakes or spread as well onto the slice but it tasted fine and I was probably the only one who was concerned.
Next time I will watch it more closely.I actually forgot to take a photo of the apricot slice. I had to rush and go to the airport that afternoon so that's my excuse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have been taking most of my finish photos in front of a large window in my kitchen which provides lots of light and also using a book by Mary Moody called 'The Long Table" - 'my love affair with food '- which has delightful photographs also providing a lovely backdrop. I have tried to use only the ones that have no people in them
The Italian meringue recipe I used comes from: