Monday, March 21, 2011

Lemon Pudding Cake

The miracle of this dessert is that the batter separates into a cake layer on top and a lemon sauce layer on the bottom. It’s magic.

1 cup sugar (divided ¾ cup and ¼ cup)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup flour
4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, melted
Zest of 1 lemon, see photos if you need them
1/3 cup lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
1½ cups milk
3 eggs, separated, see instructions below

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 1½-quart baking dish or an 8-inch baking pan.
2. Mix ¾ cup sugar, the salt, and the flour together in a bowl. Add the melted butter, lemon juice, lemon peel, and egg yolks, and stir until thoroughly blended. Stir in the milk.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining ¼ cup sugar until they are stiff but remain moist. Fold the beaten whites into the lemon mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
4. Set the baking dish in a larger pan at least 2 inches deep and pour enough hot water into the larger pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.
5. Serve warm or chilled. Blueberries or raspberries, or any other fruit of your choosing, would be great on the side.

6 servings
Adapted from Marian Cunningham’s Lost Recipes

How to separate eggs (the yolks from the whites)

The most important thing about separating eggs is to keep any of the yolk from contaminating the whites. Yolks are fat and fat keeps egg whites from expanding when whipped. Generally the whole point of separating eggs is to whip the whites into a froth, then into soft peaks and finally to fold them into something else.

1. Place two bowls side-by-side on your counter. One will be for the white and the other for the yolks. You’ll be working over the bowl for the whites.
2. Crack the center of your egg on your counter.
3. Split the egg shell apart with your thumbs, forming two small egg shell cups. The yolk should be in one of them.
4. Tip any white out of the other one and gently transfer the yolk to the empty half, allowing the white to run into the bowl.

5. Pass the yolk back and forth between the two halves until all the white has run into the bowl. Pop the yolk into its bowl.
If you are nervous about breaking the yolk and contaminating the whites, you can do this procedure one egg at a time. After you have successfully removed the whites for one egg into the small bowl, put that white into the larger bowl and proceed one-by-one separating the eggs. Doing it this way means that if one yolk breaks, you’ve only lost one egg. I have had it happen on the eighth egg, not using this one-by-one method, and had to start over again, sometimes by first going to the store to buy more eggs. Use this method until you are really confident or be prepared to occasionally make scrambled eggs for a crowd.
How to beat egg whites

1. Put your egg whites in a bowl large to hold the whites after they expand considerably.
2. Using a wire whip, a hand eggbeater, or an electric beater, begin to whip the whites. They will first turn frothy.
3. Continue beating them until the whites hold a soft peak when you hold the beater up. The whites will be shiny.
4. Use them (generally folding them into something else) immediately.

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