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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Isabella's Lemon Meringue Cupcake

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At last! Star World is screening Australia's first Junior Masterchef here in Singapore! When I was in Sydney last November, practically everyone I met was talking about it. My Australian colleagues were raving in disbelief about how 12 year old kids were cooking snails and  11 year old boy was making lamb wellington.

When this started screening 3 weeks ago,I was shocked and amazed by what the children could do.The skeptic in me wondered if this is all preconceived...that the producers had put the kids in some perversely dark boot camp where they had to practice all the dishes before hand. There was something incongruent about watching the kids hovering and fussing over a real stove when one has been more used to see them molding  playdough over kitchen play kits.

Nevertheless, the kids were amazing and it was pure delight to watch them. Stripped of the ugliness, the politics and the sacarsm that usually accompany competitive reality TV, Junior Masterchef was sweet, endearing and inspiring.

The judges were always encouraging and it was wonderful to see the children's faces light up when they were praised. The camaraderie they showed for each other was also refreshingly sweet when compared to the conniving behaviour normally seen in the adult version of the same. Just yesterday, Pierre, the challenge winner from last week was asked to pick a leader for the opposing team for their new challenge.He picked Anthony (the goofiest of all contestants and my favourite!) because they are good friends.... how I wish the adult world can be as simple as this.

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Today I share with you Isabella's Lemon Meringue Cupcake which won her the first mystery box challenge. In the challenge,the children were given a mystery box with a collection of ingredients with which they had to create a dish in 40mins... without a recipe in sight. When it came to judging time, Isabella's cupcakes were so luscious that it literally had the judges swooning over them.
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When I saw the recipe in the Masterchef magazine, I knew that I had to recreate 40mins. With enough focus, 40 mins is sufficient to create this 3 component cupcake which includes the cake, the tangy lemon curd and the meringue. The cake made with pouring cream instead of butter, is a breeze to make and yields a beautiful even dome shaped cupcake.

The verdict? I burnt the tip of the meringue a little but these cupcakes were GORGEOUS! The combination of fluffy meringue, tangy lemon curd and soft crumbly cake was an absolute winner. I now understand why judge Gary Mehigan almost melted when he tasted the cupcake.

So, dear readers, will you challenge yourself to complete this in 40mins? I hope you would.

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Recipe (from Masterchef website )

250ml /1 cup pure cream
220g /1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
225g/ 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon

Lemon curd
125ml/ 1/2 cup lemon juice
100g butter
110g/ 1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
3 egg yolks

3 egg whites
110g/ 1/2 cup caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to 180'C. Place 12 patty cake liners in a 12 hole 1/2-cup capacity muffin pan.

2. Place cream, sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Gradually add flour and zest and continue whisking until mixture is thick and smooth.
3. Divide mixture between prepared liners and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cakes spring back to touch. Cool in muffin pan.
4. For lemon curd, heat lemon juice and butter in a small saucepan and simmer until butter has melted. Add sugar, egg and yolks and cook, whisking continuously until mixture becomes thick and glossy. Pour into a shallow oven tray to cool.
5. For meringue, beat egg whites in an electric mixer until firm peaks form, gradually add sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating until sugar has dissolved between each addition. Spoon meringue mixture into a piping bag.
6. To serve, preheat grill to medium-high. Cut a small hole in the top of each cupcake and fill with 1-2 teaspoons of lemon curd. Pipe a swirl of meringue mixture on the top of each cupcake and place under heated grill for 60-90 seconds or until golden. Arrange on a serving plate with spoonfuls of lemon curd if desired.


Zurin said...

Yes the master junior masterchef is so refreshing to watch. Sometimes I think adults are are so childish and children so mature and reasonable and kind. what is this world coming to!

the cupcakes meringue look absolutely beautiful SHirley. i really have to get off my ....and start baking again.

Joanne said...

I am literally salivating at the thought of this lemony deliciousness. Beautiful cupcakes.

I kind of wish we had Junior Masterchef here! I think it would inspire so many, myself included!

Trissa said...

For some reason I missed the first season except the finale! I have to say I'm not missing the second season judging from what you made! Yummy

WendyinKK said...

I don't have that channel on my cable now, but I've heard about it frm my brother, and yes, about this meringue cupcake too.

La Table De Nana said...

I would enjoy that show.. your meringue cupcakes are adorable~

pickyin @ LifeIsGreat said...

Oh mama, I wanted to bite the screen! Thanks for the recipe, bookmarked!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful cupcakes. I love the meringue topping on those pretty.

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Oh wow, kids nowadays are really amazing! I am already salivating over these lucious looking cupcakes! Hahaha... 40mins...I am not sure if I can do it! I've seen the shots for the show but dont know when is it airing. So which channel and what time? Thanks!

Jean said...

ahh i wish i have such great shows in my local tv station. your cupcakes look lovely, i thought the meringue browned beautifully, good job!

busygran said...

Sigh! Kids today have the world in their hands! I did catch a similar show halfway and I was very impressed by the children's professionalism. Btw, I totally agree with the judge about the cupcake. I think yours deserve the same verdict!

Swee San said...

wow, no butter but with cream! nice. I watched Masterchef Au season 2 and it was nice. Haven't watched junior yet. Kept missing it on TV. u should watch Top Chef Just Desserts too! It's very very 'sweet'

Maria @ Scandi Foodie said...

They look so pretty Shirley! I love lemony desserts :-)

grub said...

i didn't watch the show, but i know these cupcakes were a hit among somg bloggers haha! i even have the recipe card from the supermarket :)

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Bee Bee, it is showing on cable tv star world(501) on Sundays at 8pm. They have reruns at the end of the week, I think.

Barbara said...

Such a clever young lady to create these. Theysound delicious.

Edith said...

These are so pretty and I find it amazing that a 10 years created this. Such smart kid.

Going to KIV this one till I overcome my sleepiness.

Von said...

It's funny to think that an Australian tv show is airing in another country months after it aired here- we're usually the ones waiting for overseas tv shows :) These cupcakes look really pretty and delicious!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I didn't realise that MC was being shown in so many countries! :) I love those DH cupcake wrappers. In fact I just baked some in them too! :)

Janine said...

I've finished watching all the episodes of JMC after a series-marathon of sorts, and I've to admit - these kids got me tearing up more than once!

I've bookmarked so many recipes, and the lemon meringue cupcakes are one of them! I'm amazed that it's actually doable in 40 minutes and tastes as good as the judges claim them to be!

Sneh | Cook Republic said...

Loved Isabella and Sofia. So so talented! These cupcakes look fantastic :-)

Maameemoomoo said...

You already know how I feel about these droolicious cuppies. Heee. I'm bookmarking this for tomr! Today is a terrible day - I had kitchen disaster day! Lol!

mycookinghut said...

So pretty! I love lemon... ;)

Anh said...

I've been watching the show on Starworld as well after missing the original showing in Australia. The kids are super impresive!

tigerfish said...

Goodness! Junior Masterchef!? We don't get the show over here. Oh , maybe in some other channels that need to be subscribed too. :(

I can imagine how interesting it is to watch kids cook :p

pigpigscorner said...

SO cute! I love Australia masterchef, can't wait to watch the junior version!

Xiaolu said...

I learned last year that toasted meringue on cupcakes are a revelation and I can hardly think of a better pairing than lemon curd with the meringue. What a showstopper, Shirley!

Laura said...

wow! beautiful. i can't wait to try these myself. i wonder if i could sub coconut milk for the cream? hmm saving to my online cookbook ( for now.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Laura, absolutely! I think that is a fantastic idea. I am tempted to try that now!

penny aka jeroxie said...

Definitely worth a try... love the look of that cake! So so moist.

The Sweetylicious said...

hi shirley (: is so nice to read your blog and is really an eye opening experience. there's so many nice bakes! i want to try it! and this meringue cupcake look fantastic and beautiful! (:

beyondkimchee said...

Wow, that lemon cup cakes are bomb! My mouth is suddenly salivating imagining the taste. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing.
P.S: I don't think I can make them under 40 minutes though.

wow accounts said...

thanks for sharing the recipe. . i really can't believe that she make this cupcake. .that kid was one of a kind.=)

Jo said...

I too watched the Junior MC for the first time a couple of weeks ago and my jaw literally dropped. What 9, 10 year old cooking like pros. They put the adults to real shame. Even their plating and presentation were restaurant style. I thoroughly enjoyed the program. BTW your cupcakes are making me salivate ..yum and with lemon curd too! Shirley, you are really wicked!

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

:) Jo, if there is another potluck gathering, I will make sure I make these!

Alice Law said...

Yeah, love Isabella's creativity!

Hi, a baking monster hopping from Anchoo's site! Have a great day!

Juliana said...

Wow, I love these cupcakes...they sure look so charming decorated with meringue...I will definitely try this out. Great pictures as well. Hope you have a great week Shirley ;-)

Anonymous said...

Just made these yesterday...definitely a 'keeper'! they're so good. Thank you for sharing these!

Patsy said...

I am a lemon sweet junkie! I love your recipes. I just joined your blog. Nice job! Patsy


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