This rich but relatively uncomplicated dessert is somewhere between a pudding and a cake (the top layer becomes spongy/cakey) and unless you dislike citrus and/or tangy desserts, you are very likely to enjoy it. At least virtually everyone to whom I have served it has dug it and come back for more. Certainly it has become popular in this household, and I finally have gotten the ingredient ratios to the point where I’m comfortable sharing it with the world.
My exploration of this recipe began in November in preparation for my mother-in-law’s long-anticipated “pudding party.” She loves pudding and has been fantasizing for years about a party at which she was surrounded by puddings of different varieties. We decided to go for it this year, with most of the puddings made by yours truly (4 out of 5, with sis-in-law Beth contributing the 5th, “dirt” – butterscotch pudding topped with gummy worms and crushed Oreos). I made a lemon and a lime variation on this (one from the Fannie Farmer cookbook, one from a recipe provided by Claire Rogan, curator of Wesleyan’s Davison Arts Center), each a little different, and collectively they were the big hit, as they have been at each event since where I’ve made this. The recipe below combines my favorite elements of both.
Notes: A mixture of lemon and lime is really nice, but either one by itself is still plenty fine. To make it gluten-free, use rice flour or cornstarch in place of the white flour.
– 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
– 1/4 cup white flour
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 1/3 cup fresh lemon or lime juice or a combination (juice from 2 large, juicy lemons should do it)
– 1 Tbsp grated lemon (and/or lime) rind (about the amount you’ll get from the 2 lemons above)
– 1 1/2 cups milk (I use 2% but any milk will do – the richer the milk, the richer the pudding)
– 3 eggs, separated
1) Preheat oven to 325. Grease a roughly 10×13 casserole dish (a little bigger or smaller is fine, it’ll just change the thickness and thus the baking time) and put about 3/4 inch of hot water in another, larger baking/casserole dish (large enough that the greased one will fit in it). Put the dish of water in the oven as it heats.
2) In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and flour very well, until you have a fine crumb.
3) Add the lemon juice, rind and egg yolks and keep beating until well blended.
4) Add the milk and keep beating until blended (will be pretty liquid-y).
5) Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the other mixture. Pour into greased dish.
6) Put greased dish into the dish of water in the oven. Bake about an hour, until the top starts to look firm and the custard begins to pull away from the sides of the dish.
7) Put pan on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold (which is my preference) with or without whipped cream on top.