Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lemon Pudding Cakes

This is a dessert I haven't made in a very long time despite the fact that I love citrus desserts and used to enjoy it all the time as a kid. Lemon pudding cake is one of the fancy desserts that I will always associate dinner parties and holidays. This recipe is a little bit different from the one my mom used to make, but the outcome is fairly similar: a tangy sweet lemon curd topped with a fluffy cloud-layer of lemon scented sponge cake.
Pudding cakes are the result of mysterious oven-magic, the cake is made by making a lemon mixture that is then folded into egg whites, but as it bakes in it's steamy water bath, the cake separates into a sauce with a fluffy cake topping. The result is delicious and moist and requires no garnish excet for some garden-fresh red currants and a dusting of powdered sugar. You can even make individual servings in ramekins but I opted to serve this dessert family style in a large casserole dish.
This two in one dessert is both pudding and cake, giving me ample opportunity to indulge my Anglophilia by calling it a "pud"and a generally using a parade of "British-isms" to assuage my longing to visit the land of tea and crumpets. Someday!

Lemon Pudding Cakes
makes 8 servings

  • 1/2 cup all-purposeflour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest.
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice ( from about 2 lemons)
  • 1-1/3 cups whole milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 35 degrees F. Use either a large 2 quart soufle dish or 8 ramekins and place in a large baking dish. You do not need to grease the pans.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the flour and the salt. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cups of the sugar until pale ad thick. they may be slightly grainy. Stir in the flour and beat until very thick, about 2 minutes more. Mine looked biscuit-like at this point. Stir in the lemon zest, juice and milk.
  3. Using an electric mixer on high speed, whip the egg whites until foamy. Sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and whip until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Using a spatula, stir one fourth of the egg whites into the lemon mixture. Gently fold in the rest just until no streaks of white are visible. Divide among the ramekins, or pour into large casserole dish.
  4. Plae casserole or ramekins in a large pan and fill to one inch with boiling water. Bake until the centres are firm to the touch and the edges are slightly golden brown and pull away from the sides of the ramekins or casserole, about 40-50 minuteas. Remove from the oven but leave in the water bath for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm or at room tempertaure straight from ramekins or carefully cut into squares..
Adapted from: The Williams Sonoma Baking Book: The Essential Recipe Collection for Today's Home Baker

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