Otherwise known as a Lemon Sponge Custard, this is the kind of luscious dessert that you can’t be bothered to dish into a bowl before consuming–you want to eat it right from the pan. The Joy of Cooking calls it “magical,” saying it “mysteriously divides into a quivery layer of lemon custard on the bottom and a light a spongy cake on top.” The trick with this dessert is to cook it in a water bath, which sounds difficult, but is actually quite easy. Here’s how I did it:
Lemon Pudding Cake
2 Tbs unsalted butter
2/3 C sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
4 egg whites
3 Tbs flour
1/4 C lemon juice
1 C whole milk
Separate four eggs so that you have four egg whites in one bowl and three egg yolks in another. Hold back one egg yolk for other use.
Beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they are stiff, about 5-7 minutes.
Meanwhile, cream the butter, salt and sugar until it is crumbly, like so:
Add the egg yolks. Mix together. Add the flour. Mix. Add the lemon juice. Mix. Add the milk. Mix.
Now you have a yellow, soupy mixture. Take your stiffened egg whites and pour on top. With a spatula, carefully fold the egg whites into the batter so that there are no more lumps of white.
Now, make your water bath. You will need two pans, one that fits into the other. I used a square 8X8 baking pan and a lasagna pan.
Ladle the batter into the baking pan and put it into the larger pan. Add about 2 inches of water along the bottom so that the pudding floats in the large pan, like so:
(As you can seem, my lasagna pan is much loved…)
Now, put the whole thing in the oven. Bake for 25-35 minutes on 325 degrees. Do a knife test to see if it’s done–the knife should still have a few curds of custard on it. You don’t want to overcook this. Let stand for 10 minutes. You can serve this dish warm or cold.
It is delicious, and actually, extremely economical. Check it out:
Cost of Dish: Butter: $.20, Sugar: $.10, Eggs: $.75, Flour: $.05, Lemon: free from the garden, Milk: $.20.
Total Cost of Dish: $1.30 for the whole thing, $.33/serving.