Raspberry Filling

lemon raspberry cupcakes 2Raspberry is a classic cupcake and cake filling, and I always wonder who came up with this idea. Whoever they were, they’re a genius.

Homemade filling does take some time, and the bulk of the work comes in straining your berry mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds. You could leave the seeds in if you want to save time; I’ve certainly done so, but for some treats – like the more delicate lemon raspberry cupcakes pictured in this photo, I think straining is worth it.

If you want to make raspberry filling at a time of year when fresh raspberries aren’t readily available at your local market, you can always use frozen berries. I recommend letting them thaw out first, but you can also pulse them in a food processor to break them down a bit before cooking them.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces raspberries, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preparation

In a medium saucepan, stir together raspberries, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until the mixture boils, then allow it to boil for 1 minute, stirring well, until the mixture thickens.

Remove from heat and press through a fine sieve to filter out the seeds. Allow to cool before using; makes about 1 cup.

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Lemon Curd II

meyer lemon tartletsAs I’ve mentioned before, making lemon curd makes me feel like a superwoman. A few months ago, I learned how to temper eggs, and ever since I’ve felt a profound sense of accomplishment. First, I conquered vanilla cream pie, my first successful egg-tempering endeavor. Then came my first try at lemon curd, which used only egg yolks and yielded a lovely, tangy, brilliant yellow concoction that I then served with lemon poppy seed scones. This most recent attempt went into tartlets, as pictured at left.

This lemon curd is different than my first attempt, in that it uses whole eggs and not just yolks. The end result of this curd is a lighter, creamier curd in both color and flavor. You can certainly use regular lemons if you choose, but I had some Meyers around, so that’s what I used here. I look forward to experimenting with lime and orange curds someday as well.

What can you do with lemon curd? So, so much. You can put it in tartlets or use it as a filling for cakes and cupcakes, serve it with scones, sandwich it between cookies, layer it in trifles, plop it into graham cracker crust and top it with whipped cream for a pie, eat it with a spoon…the list goes on. Whatever you do, just be sure you follow the recipe, particularly with regard to the straining of the eggs before and the second straining of the curd once it’s been cooked; this ensures that you get a smooth, clump-free result.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (I used 4 small/medium-sized Meyer lemons)
  • zest of 4 lemons
  • 8 tablespoons butter

Preparation

Lightly beat eggs and pass them through a fine sieve to remove the albumin. Set aside in a medium bowl (or a large, 4-cup glass measuring cup for easy pouring) close to the stove for easy access; thoroughly wash your sieve and place it nearby for a second straining once the curd has cooked.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest until completely combined. Add butter and cook on medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

Working quickly, pour about half of the hot lemon mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly to temper. Pour egg mixture back into the pan and cook and stir for 2 minutes more.

Pour mixture through your sieve to remove the zest; press waxed paper (or plastic wrap) onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Once curd is completely cooled, place in an airtight container. According to various food safety websites and other food blogs, lemon curd should last in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

Lemon Curd

lemon curdWhat can I say about lemon curd? I love it. And now, I know how to make it…which makes me feel like a superwoman. There’s something about successfully tempering egg yolks that gives me an incredible sense of accomplishment, like I’ve just climbed the Mount Everest of confections.

I had six egg yolks left over from this weekend’s baking, and I wanted to use them all up in the same recipe. Fortunately, the recipe that I had for lemon curd was easily tripled to accommodate six yolks, and the adjusted recipe appears below. Also, I used Meyer lemons for this curd; Meyer lemons are thought to be a cross between a lemon and a clementine or orange and are native to China. I’ve been fascinated by Meyers for some time, and when Mike told me that Soergel Orchards had them in stock this week, I asked him to bring them home for me. You could certainly use regular lemons, of course.

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice (I used 6 small/medium-sized Meyer lemons)
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • 12 tablespoons butter

Preparation

Lightly beat egg yolks and pass them through a fine sieve to remove the albumin. Set aside in a medium bowl close to the stove for easy access; thoroughly wash your sieve and place it nearby for a second straining once the curd has cooked.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest until completely combined. Add butter and cook on medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

Working quickly, pour about half of the hot lemon mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper. Pour egg mixture back into the pan and cook and stir for 2 minutes more.

Pour mixture through your sieve to remove the zest; press waxed paper (or plastic wrap) onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Once curd is completely cooled, place in an airtight container. According to various food safety websites and other food blogs, lemon curd should last in the refrigerator for a few weeks.