I think I’m really falling in love with lemon, anything lemon and in particular, lemon curd. The other day, I wanted to experiment with Miette’s lemon curd and found that it is equally delightful as compared to Dorie Greenspan’s. After filling the pate sucree tarts with them, I still had a good amount of it and went out to bake a lemon cake for a lady in our small group who has just completed her part-time studies. Thankfully, I had the hot milk cake sitting in the freezer; it did save a lot of work. All I needed to do was to make the Italian meringue buttercream, my all-time favourite frosting.
So I did one batch of vanilla buttercream, good enough to cover a 6-inch cake and with excess.
You will need:
210g caster sugar ( I would reduce this amount for future’s bake)
75g egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
340g unsalted butter, at room temperature, in cubes
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Make sure the sugar is dissolve in the water and cook the mixture until it reaches 120C. This will take from 5 to 10 minutes. After the sugar is dissolved (while continue boiling), I would wet a pastry brush and wet the sides of the pan to prevent sugar from crystalising.
2. While boiling the sugar syrup, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 115C degrees, start to whisk the egg whites on medium-low speed until soft peaks are formed. The sugar syrup is still being boiled at this time. When it reaches 120C, remove from the heat source. reduce the standmixer speed to low and drizzle in the sugar syrup from the side so that the hot syrup doesn’t splatter. Raise the speed to high when all the syrup is poured in and continue to whisk until the mixture cools to room temperature (or when you can touch the steel bowl , 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Only when the meringue is cool enough should you begin to add the butter. Reduce the speed to medium. With the mixer running, drop in the butter, 1 tbsp or cube at a time, waiting until each is incorporated before adding another. The mixture may deflate and begin to look curdled. Just raise the speed to high and continue to add tbsp-size pieces of butter, making sure each is completely combined before adding more. When all the butter has been added, the frosting should be smooth and thick. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
For this cake, I add 3 tbsp of lemon curd to 1 cup of buttercream to achieve the tangy result.
Storage: In ziplock bag for up to 1 week in the fridge or up to 2 months in the freezer. To use them again, bring to room temperature. Transfer to mixer with paddle attachment and beat until soft and spreadable.
The assembly process in pics:
For the lemon curd (adapted from Miette’s)
1 cup sugar (I would reduce in future)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
7 large egg yolks
113g unsalted butter, cubed
1. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and egg yolks. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water to make a bain-marie. Whisk occasionally and cook the mixture until it thickens considerably (78C)
2. Remove form the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container. Let the curd cool slightly to about 60C.
3. Using a whisk, mix the butter into the curd until the butter is completely incorporated. Strain again to remove any lumps. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until well chilled before using. Can keep for up to 7 days tightly covered in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 3 months.
Thinking of the next cake to bake now!