Another Lemon Dessert

Due to reasons previously mentioned (day trip to the coast etc.), we were all pretty tired and in need of something nourishing but non-labour intensive. The Pork Medallions in a Gorgonzola Sauce had been a hit previously, so much so that my husband insists that we keep some medallions in the freezer at all times. Therefore, the solution of dinner was solved, long before it even became a problem.
Served with Pan Haggarty, a Northern dish of Potatoes layered with onions and butter, and cooked in a frying pan on the hob (my favourite dish from my Vegetarian days) and Peas a la Parisian. For dessert I wanted to use up some sad look unwaxed lemons. I make sure to always have some lemons in the fridge because with just a handful of store cupboard ingredients you can always knock up a quick pudding of some sort – there are very few main courses that are not complimented by a lemon dessert, whether it’s a posset, a sorbet, a tart or, in this case, a baked pudding.
I am very old school and believe that, whilst a starter isn’t an essential component of a dinner party, a dessert is. It is a rare person who refuses pudding, even my grandmother who is going down in history as “not being a chocolate person” will, without fail, devour with relative ease, a heavingly large bowl of dessert. With custard. And cream.
With that, last nights main course was a success. The plates were clean. Empty plates must be any cooks sign of unspoken flattery: a litmus test of culinary success if you will.
So, with my starting ingredient of some lemons and not much else, I started scanning the indexes of my cookbooks. Lemon Souffle, Lemon Chiffon Pie, Lemon Granita. I didn’t really feel like making pastry, there was no time for a frozen pud and I wasn’t feeling brave enough for a soufflĂ© even though I’ve yet to have a flopped soufflĂ©. Suddenly, as so often happens, Nigel Slater came to my rescue: Lemon Surprise Pudding. To the consumer of this rich dessert, there is no surprise. However, to the person who whisks up the egg whites and folds them into a lumpy looking batter, the finished article is more than a surprise. It is a miracle of science. Let me elaborate. During cooking, the ingredients separate to form two distinct layers: a rich, mouth-puckering, tangy lemon custard nestling beneath a meringue-light pale golden sponge. It was the perfect foil to the richness of the Gorgonzola cream sauce of the main course.
I remembered this pudding from my childhood and I was always dumbstruck at the seeming magic of it. I realise now that it was probably a fortuitous mistake that caused the batter to split into two delicious entities.
Just so you know, this is a case of taste being prevalent over beauty. And never did something so sloppy taste so great!
Juice of three Lemons, Zest of two Lemons
100g Butter
175g Caster Sugar (I used Vanilla but this is not obligatory)
4 Eggs separated
50g Plain Flour
500ml Milk (this seems like an awful lot of milk but it constitutes, along with the eggs and lemon, the custard derriere)
Grease a 2 litre Ovenproof Dish.
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.
Beat in the lemon juice and zest followed by the egg yolks one at a time. The mix will now resemble scrambled egg.
Stir in the flour and milk. The batter will now be runny and flecked with small lumps. Don’t panic!
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until peaking softly. Fold gently into the lemon batter until fully amalgamated.
Pour into the greased dish and place in a bain marie, which is to say, a roasting dish filled with enough water to bring it halfway up your baking dish.
Precariously insert this contraption into the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the mixture has separated and a golden sponge has formed. The custard will be gently bubbling underneath.
It is better if you let it stand for a couple of minutes to allow the custard to set up but if you can’t wait, not to worry. Serve with single cream if you wish.


Kathryn said...

I've never made that pudding, Freya! It sounds really good though. I should stop fearing bain-maries.

Are your American family still around? Hope you're having fun.

Kathryn x

Kathryn said...

PS: the recipe for Bill's divine coconut bread is here

do try it..

Carolyn said...

Lemons, yum! This is definitely something I have to try. I don't normally keep my lemons in the fridge, do they keep longer there? I always have a problem of having lemons around because they never last long for me.


Freya said...

Hi Kathryn! Thanks for the link, will definately try the bread, maybe tomorrow as the family are leaving then...don't fear the Bain Marie, do as I do: get your other half to do the precarious part. Sure it's girlish, but it works!!

Carolyn, lemons, particularly unwaxed ones do last longer in the fridge especially in hot climes like where you are. Do try it, it's delicious!

Freya x

Mark said...

Aah, I love this pudding, so easy and great winter comfort food. Still don't know why/how the curdled batter mix magically transforms into sponge and custard! The orange and lemon version is nice too as is the slightly adapted version Nicholas Clee gives in his fantastic book 'Don't sweat the Aubergine' - not a recipe book (although there are some recipes, but one of my most used and useful food books. More info at:
I am going to have to go and make this pud tommorrow night. :)

Freya said...

Hi Mark! Thanks for the nice comment! It is quite a piece of kitchen alchemy isn't it? I was toying with the idea of using lemons and limes as I had both in the fridge but thought I'd save the latter for a cheesecake at the weekend. Will definitely check out the Clee book, I do need another cookbook!
Hope you enjoy the pud!
Freya x

Kathryn said...

Hi Freya

Just to butt into your conversation with Mark... I have that book too and it's great reading and good info. I like Clee's style. So do we ascertain that you're making lime cheesecake at the w/e? Yum - I love limes in any form.

The coconut bread is dead dead easy, not like 'proper' bread, but it is really lovely given how easy it is...

Kathryn x

Mark said...

Nicholas Clee has a blog too (Sceptical Cook) at:

Anonymous said...

Sounds divine!

Happy 2007!

Freya said...

Kathryn and Mark, will check out Nicholas Clee today, thanks for the heads up! And I will post a picture of the coconut bread when I make it!

Ivonne, it was!

charlotte said...

I love lemon surprise pudding too, and, as you say, anything lemony as a dessert is lovely. I recently put lemon curd on a pavlova, then a layer of whipped cream and then pomegranate seeds. Gorgeous.

Good luck with your coconut bread. It is delicious.

Freya said...

Hi Charlotte! The Lemon and Pomengranate Pavlova sounds wonderful and inspired! A real change from the usual raspberries (which I also love though!).
Hopefully making the coconut bread this weekend!
Thanks for stopping by!
Freya x