Since the recipe made 12 muffins, I was able to run a little experiment. I baked half of the muffins with lemon curd inside of the batter. I baked the other six muffins without curd, allowing them to cool before hollowing out the center and adding a dollop of lemon curd into the middle of the muffin. Although the first method, baking the curd into the center of the muffin, is clearly the easiest, as is the case with most things in life, the second more time and work intensive method yielded a much better result. The first muffins were tasty, but the curd didn't really stand out. Also, after the first twenty-four hours, the curd was absorbed into the muffin so the pocket of lemon curd effect was lost. Scooping out some muffin and filling it with curd, on the other hand, made regular muffins a special treat. The fresh curd provided a fresh, creamy, lemony pop with each bite. It also remained separate from the muffin, making these muffins just as special on day 3 as the first day they were made. One final note before getting to the recipe: I typically like larger muffins, and if you plan on making these muffins without the lemon curd, either the 6 or 12 muffin tin would work great. However, because lemon curd has a strong flavor, it might be a bit overwhelming if a larger muffin was filled. With the leave coming out on the trees, tulips blooming, and Easter next weekend, these muffins, and the fresh lemon flavor, are a great addition to any breakfast or brunch table...or for dessert!
Adapted from WonkyWonderful.com
1/2 cup unsalted butter; softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons skim milk
2 tablespoons half and half
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons almond extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cream butter and sugar. Lightly beat milk, sour cream, egg and almond extract. Add to butter mixture while mixing. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Stir in poppy seeds. Transfer to 12 standard muffin tins with liners. Bake 18-20 minutes or until light golden on edges. If desiring a more browned top, brush lightly with milk, half and half or cream. Transfer muffins to cooling rack. Allow to cool completely. Scoop out a small portion of the center of the muffin (I used a small melon baller.) Spoon in a dollop of lemon curd (recipe below). Transfer to an airtight container for storage.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa**
3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large or extra-large eggs
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
Dash of kosher salt
In a small saucepan, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until well combined. Cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at just below simmer and will thicken a little bit further in the refrigerator. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.
**I adapted the recipe because I didn't start with whole lemons (and therefore couldn't zest them), and I didn't want to have a bunch of leftover curd. It is too tempting for me to sit and eat it with a spoon! I have made the recipe as is, and it is delicious, but I also think for a quick and easy lemon curd that is still bursting with flavor, the one I provide above does the trick!
Almond Poppy Seed Muffins with Lemon Curd Filling (printable recipe)