Easter may be all about chocolate for my kids but I’m thinking lemons. I’ve tried to bring up the idea of an Easter lunch or dinner a couple of times but the kids just look at me blankly. “We’re having an Easter egg hunt,” Esme reminds me. “I know we are,” I reply. “But then you know, there will be the rest of the day, and we could have a nice dinner…” But I’ve already lost her interest.
Well, if to amuse myself and Ben, I decide to do a special meal for Easter I’ll be looking forward to putting a spring spin on everything. We’re having a start/stop introduction to spring in Toronto but I’m still looking forward cooking and baking with my spring favourites. It’s not like lemons are seasonal since there is no such thing as a local lemon in this part of the world. But for me it’s a spring and summer flavour that I love. It’s so fresh and bright tasting – I love adding lemon to savoury or sweet dishes. I don’t remember how I came across this one. I’ve been making it for a few months now and it’s a big hit. It’s an old fashioned dessert that can be made with chocolate, caramel, berries or citrus. It’s a light batter that, in the oven, puffs up into an airy sponge on top and leaves a creamy pudding sauce on the bottom. Yes, you read that right – it’s a pudding and it’s a cake. It’s also ridiculously easy to make. If you can get a hold of Meyer lemons they’re really worth it. Much less sour than a regular lemon, the only downside is their soft rind makes them a little tougher to zest. But regular lemons will make a great final dessert as well. So creamy delicious. And light enough to finish a decadent meal. If I make one of those…
photos by Maya Vinyei
Lemon Pudding Cake
Makes 1 large (1.5 quart or 1.4 litre) souffle dish or 4 individual ramekins
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, seperated
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat the oven 350 degrees.
Lightly butter your ramekin/s.
Remove 2 Tbsp of sugar from the 1 cup. Put this aside for the egg whites. With the rest of that cup of sugar, add the butter to it and beat it with a mixer until it’s light (it will still be grainy).
Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each. Blend in the zest. Mix flour and salt into your batter. Now add your milk and lemon juice and give it all another mix.
In another bowl (be sure it’s super clean, egg whites don’t like grease of any kind) mix your egg whites until they’re frothy soft peaks. Sprinkle the 2 Tbsp of reserved sugar over them and continue to beat the whites until they form stiff peaks.
Gently fold your whites into the batter. Start by pouring the whites on top of the batter. Use a spatula and stir the batter around the bowl, then gently lift up and turn it over the whites. You’re looking to combine the two elements without crushing all those little bubbles you just built into your whites. Eventually it will all be the same colour and texture. Once it is, stop!
Place your ramekin/s into a high-edge roasting pan. Ladle your batter into the ramekin/s. Now carefully pour water into the roasting pan so that it comes up about halfway the ramekins. Pop them in a hot oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Watch it closely at the end – you want it to be golden but not brown. It will be a firm but soft sponge on the top.
Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes before shaking some confectioner’s sugar through a sieve over the top. Use a large spoon to scoop out a portion, making sure you go right to the bottom for some of the delicious pudding sauce.