I was recently introduced to Indo-mandarinquats by a coworker. Breed mandarin oranges and kumquats and their babies are delicious little bite-sized treats with edible skin. When I was trying to find them in the produce section, I came upon another kumquat hybrid: limequats! A cross between key limes and kumquats, they look like miniature lemons but aren’t quite as good for snacking as the mandarinquats (they’re really sour).
This challenged me to think of some use for my limequats. I immediately thought of doing a twist on lemon meringue pie and
eventually settled on mini limequat cupcakes with meringue and candied limequats. These bite-sized treats are tangy and sweet, and the candied limequats provide texture against the fluffy meringue and dense, soft cake. This is a refreshing alternative instead of all the Valentine’s day chocolate, especially for those special people in your life who hate chocolate*.
This recipe may seem intimidating, as it’s 3 different parts, but don’t worry – it’s easy! You can make the candied limequats days ahead of time; in fact, do make them at least one day before so they can sit overnight. But wait to make the meringue until just before serving the cupcakes if possible.
You will need a candy thermometer, and an electric mixer will certainly make your life easier, especially for the meringue.
- 2/3 C water
- 2/3 C sugar
- Dash of salt
- Around 6-8 large limequats
Bring water, sugar and salt to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Slice limequats as thinly as you can manage, removing the seeds along the way (the seeds will make the syrup bitter). Add limequat slices to the boiling mixture and remove from heat. Let cool and then refrigerate overnight. This will keep a long time in the fridge, so you can make this way ahead of time if you’d like.
Also, if you double the recipe, you will have leftover syrup (you will use almost 1 C of syrup in the cupcakes and meringue). This would be a great mixer for cocktails (mix with vodka, rum, tequila – you could make a limequat mojito or margarita!) or mocktails (limequat simple syrup with soda water would be a very refreshing drink).
Prep time: 20-30 minutes
Bake time: 10 minutes
Yields: 3 dozen miniature cupcakes
- 1/2 C butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 C sugar
- 1/4 C limequat syrup from Candied Limequats recipe above, strained (reserve the candied limequat slices to use as garnish)
- 2 t limequat juice
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 C unbleached white all-purpose flour
- 1 t baking powder
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/2 C milk
- 2 T limequat syrup from Candied Limequats recipe above, strained
Pre-heat oven to 350°.
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Using room temperature butter is key. Once you have softened butter, cube it and mix for a couple of minutes until it is smooth. Add the sugar slowly and mix at medium-high speed until sugar granules have dissolved and the mixture is fluffy.
Add limequat syrup and juice. Mix until combined, then add eggs one at a time, mixing well.
In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add some the dry mixture alternately with some of the milk into the butter mixture until all the ingredients are well combined.
Line miniature muffin tin with liners or spray with non-stick spray. Drop batter into wells until they are about 3/4 full (I used a medium cookie scoop -it holds 1 1/2 T- and 1 scoop fit perfectly). Cook for around 10 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (If you make regular sized cupcakes, you need to increase cooking time to 20-25 minutes).
Let cool, then brush the tops of each cupcake with a small spoonful of the limequat syrup. Let sit for a little while to absorb the syrup, then (just before serving) top with a dollop of meringue (see recipe below) and a slice of candied limequat.
Note: Make meringue right before serving. It will lose a lot of body if you keep it overnight. Store leftover cupcakes with meringue loosely covered on the counter (an overturned mixing bowl works well).
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 t cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 C limequat syrup from Candied Limequats recipe above, strained
Using a clean metal or glass bowl, beat egg whites on low until they become foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt and increase speed to medium until there are soft peaks. Reduce speed to low while heating limequat syrup over high heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 235-240° (softball stage). Slowly pour the hot syrup into the eggs while beating on low speed, aiming for the middle of the bowl (avoiding the sides and whisk). Increase speed to medium-high for 10 minutes, or until mixture holds stiff, shiny peaks.
Use a spoon or piping bag to place a dollop of meringue on each cooled cupcake. Top with a slice of candied limequat. Enjoy!
*This recipe is dedicated to Jill, who hates chocolate and also requested a post on kumquats. You can certainly use kumquats in place of limequats!