LEMON FILLING:

Ingredients

3 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp lemon zest, loosely packed
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Cupcakes:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

MERINGUE:
3 reserved egg whites
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar

1) LEMON FILLING: In small saucepan over low heat, whisk egg yolks, sugar, flour, and salt; whisk in lemon juice, lemon zest, water, and melted butter; increase heat to medium and, whisking constantly, cook until lemon filling is smooth and thick, about 7 minutes; remove from heat and set aside

2) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

3) CUPCAKES: In medium bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs, lemon juice, baking powder, and salt; beat in flour until just combined

4) Divide cupcake batter between 12 cupcake liners in a muffin pan; bake 20 minutes until cupcake centers are firm; remove cupcakes from oven and cool 5-8 minutes (do not turn off oven)

5) Meanwhile, make meringue: beat reserved egg whites with salt until mixture begins to stiffen; add sugar and beat until meringue is stiff and forms pretty peaks (don’t overdo it)

6) With a sharp knife, remove center of each cupcake (about 1″ in diameter), a layer of cupcake beneath leaving cut out; discard cupcake core (or treat the weary baker to a tart little snack); fill cupcake centers with lemon filling

7) Divide dollops of meringue between cupcakes, spreading out to edges and gently tapping with back of spoon to form peaks; return cupcakes to oven and bake additional 5-6 minutes until meringue peaks are golden brown; remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes; refrigerate an hour or more before serving.

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