Saturday, June 2, 2012

Meringue Cupcakes with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote (Cupcake of the Month #5)

So May turned out to be a bit of a wash with cooking, baking, and posting.  But there was a May cupcake.

It's a meringue cupcake with a strawberry rhubarb compote and creme fraiche.

And I was not enthusiastic about it once the process began.  It was messy.  It was frustrating.  And this is the only picture I have of the final product (taken with my Canon PowerShot ELPH because... well, we'll get to that later).

Let me be clear in stating I have no problems with meringue.  I love meringue.  I've made several pies involving meringue.

But meringue cupcakes - that's a whole different story. And these, in particular, were a comedy of errors from beginning to end.

First of all, I do have to give a huge shout-out-thank-you to my mother for making the compote and making the creme fraiche (because none could be found at the store).  I was out of town for Memorial Day weekend and had barely enough time to make the cupcakes. We'll get to that in a minute.

The strawberry rhubarb compote was delightful, actually. It would be fantastic on ice cream, pancakes, waffles, mixed into vanilla yogurt, spooned across the top of a sponge cake.  I will likely make it myself at some point this summer - and there will be directions and pictures of that process, I promise.

The creme fraiche whipped cream was pretty simple.  Whether you buy creme fraiche at the store or make it yourself (which is possible, by the way), you'll need to whip a cup of it together with half a cup of heavy cream.  Have I done a whipped cream tutorial?  Put that on the list of To-Dos as well.

But the cupcakes.  Oh. My. God.  The cupcakes.

If you've never worked with meringue before, let me just forewarn you that it is like glue. Sticky, sweet glue. And you're supposed to transfer it to a pasty bag and pipe the stuff into your cupcake cups.

Well, you know what?  It's a pain in the you know what.

When I put the first glob of meringue into my pastry bag, it pretty much glued the top shut.  When I finally did manage to get a decent amount into the bag, my attempts to force it to the snipped tip end resulted in about a third of it squeezing out of the top.  All over my hands. (Hence the lack of pictures.)

After about a half hour filled with some choice vocabulary, I had 11 of the 12 required cupcakes piped into my cupcake tins.  (Side note - I managed to have only one cupcake liner in my entire house.  Fortunately, I had some Wilton Bake Easy spray and it worked like magic.  I only had one cupcake break when I removed them from the pans.)   By this point, I think I had almost as much meringue on my hands as was in the pastry bag.

I shouted a particular obscenity, squeezed what was left in the bag into the last cup, and threw the bag away.  I then scraped the bowl clean with my spatula and pretty much just threw the remaining meringue into the cup.  I was done.

Then I discovered I was supposed to bake them for like three hours.  Which I somehow managed to overlook when I was planning my morning.  I had just enough time.

It was also a good thing my husband was home, because my hands were covered in meringue and he had to put the cupcakes in the oven for me, lest I glue my oven door shut with the meringue coating my fingers.

In the end, the cupcakes were adorable (even the one that was "slapped" into the pan).  Everyone loved them.  I told them to enjoy.

Because I am never making these things again.

If you ever consider making these cupcakes, I have a suggestion.


Unless you have an industrial sized pastry bag that can hold all the meringue at once.  Otherwise, I suggest something along the line of meringue shells:

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