You know how when you board an airplane and the seat next to you is empty and the doors are closing and you get all excited because you're going to have all this extra room and space and quiet and then this large-ish guy from another row scoots into the seat and your hopes and dreams of extra space are completely dashed and then he carries on a very loud conversation with the guy across the aisle, and even though you've put in earplugs, it's almost impossible to collect your thoughts and write coherently about some incredibly luscious, lemon-studded muffins? I just hate it when that happens. And all this after sitting on the runway for over an hour while we de-ice and wait for runways to open and whatever other delays they can dream up because they know you have an impossibly tight connecting flight.
So here I am jammed into a middle seat, earplugs stuffed in my ears drowning out only the sound of the engines and making this conversation next to me seem even louder. But as soon as the flight attendant stops screeching through the intercom, I'm going to do my best to gather my thoughts and tell you about these lovely lemon muffins.
And luscious they are... moist, super lemon-y, and just the perfect little muffin for those of us who profess undying allegiance to all things lemon. I'm pretty much a charter member of that club and lemon curd is our iconic celebrity.
I have only one little procedural complaint regarding this recipe, and that's that as much as I was looking forward to little swirls of lemon curd in these, apparently, either I totally sucked at the marbling step, or the lemon curd just naturally gets absorbed by the batter, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But since the name suggests otherwise, I think we should be able to find little pockets of lemon curd inside.
To remedy this possible eventuality, I suggest that you simply spoon a little of the lemon curd onto half of the batter in the muffin tin and top that with more of the batter and bake as directed. Or you could try your hand at marbling the curd a la the original recipe. And to make things even more wondrous, I think you should also add a little dollop of the curd on top of the finished muffin. Sigh.
And in case you were wondering (maybe you're not), the aforementioned flight was (in its own special way) whisking us off to the sunny shores of the central coast of California, more specifically, the Western Headquarters of the Circle B Kitchen. We've left the chickens in the capable hands of our neighbor, who happens to also be our daughter, and for the next few weeks they will be working on their yoga postures and we will be trading 19 degrees for 60.
Sounds pretty nice, no? Almost as good as a lovely little muffin filled with lemon curd. Here's the recipe...
Lemon Curd Marbled Muffins
Recipe adapted from River Cottage Every Day
These are wonderfully moist, lemon-y muffins, but it seems that the lemon curd doesn't actually marble that well. So if you're looking for more of a lemon curd presence in your muffin, I would suggest that you place ½ the batter in the muffin cups and place a dollop of curd in the center of each and then top with the rest of the muffin batter and bake as directed. I used panettone muffin papers that I ordered from Cupcakes and Swirls. If you use this kind of paper mold, you will only get 6 instead of 12 muffins from the recipe.
Makes about 12 muffins
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup whole milk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup lemon curd, divided (here's a great lemon curd recipe!)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners. Put the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and whisk lightly to aerate and combine.
2. Mix the egg, yogurt, milk, and melted butter together in a pitcher. Pour them into the dry ingredients and mix lightly, stopping as soon as everything is combined – it's essential not to overmix or you'll get dense, cakey muffins.
3. Add 2/3 of the lemon curd in 6 or 7 dollops and quickly "marble" it lightly through the mixture (a couple of light stirs is really add that's needed). If your lemon curd is a bit stiff, just add it in little blobs.
4. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups, to three-quarters fill them. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Eat on the day you bake them, ideally while still slightly warm, topped with another dollop of lemon curd.
I've been asked about making your own lemon curd and here's a good recipe for it if you'd like to use homemade. Good stuff!
Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten
3/4 cups sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup lemon juice
pinch of salt
Zest the lemon into the sugar and mix well.
Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.
Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.