I recently won a fantastic giveaway from She Wears Many Hats for a mini cupcake maker from Babycakes - it's basically like a waffle iron but instead of waffles it makes mini cupcakes, muffins, and pies! This was a really fun thing to win because it's probably not something I would have bought for myself, but I've definitely been having a fun time with it. One of the first things I made was gingerbread cupcakes, mostly because we happened to have all the ingredients in the house. Since lemon goes so well with gingerbread, I decided to whip up a batch of lemon custard ice cream with some of the Meyer lemons from the tree in our backyard (oh California, I love you!). The cupcakes were simple and tasty, but the ice cream was definitely the star of the show - it's not super tart, but instead is perfectly creamy and bursting with floral lemon flavor. It tastes just like my mom's lemon custard, except frozen! This was a delicious and festive dessert - definitely a hit.
Meyer Lemon Custard Ice Cream (adapted from Fine Cooking)
Makes 2 pints
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 4 Meyer lemons
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup strained freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the cream with the milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Warm over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for at least one hour.
2. Prepare an ice bath with the inner bowl holding at least 1-1/2 quarts. Pour the remaining cup of cream into the inner bowl and set a fine mesh strainer on top.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.
4. Re-warm the cream mixture over medium high heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. In a steady stream, pour the cream mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly.
5. Pour the custard mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan with a heatproof silicone spatula until the custard thickens slightly (about 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 4-8 minutes).
5. Immediately strain the custard into the cold cream in the ice bath. Press firmly to extract as much liquid as possible.
6. Cool the custard to a little under room temperature by stirring occasionally over the ice bath for about 30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice.
7. Chill the custard in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, until very cold. Freeze in an ice cream maker, then pack into pints and store in the freezer until ready to serve.
Mini Gingerbread Cupcakes (adapted from 175 Best Babycakes)
Makes about 2 dozen
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
2 T corn syrup
2 T dark molasses
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup milk
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and molasses and heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the flour mixture and whisk to combine. Add the egg and milk and whisk to combine.
3. Place paper liners in the wells of a mini cupcake maker. Fill each about 3/4 of the way full of batter and then bake about 6 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Repeat with remaining batter. (Of course, you can also make these in the oven - just bake a little longer, until a tester comes out clean.)