My good friend Sue just sent her recipe for Lemon Pudding Cake to my blog, unconfidentialcook.com. She and her husband, Bill, are two of my absolute favorite dinner guests—and friends. They are such incredibly enthusiastic/complimentary eaters, plus how often is it that both husbands and both wives genuinely enjoy all the others? One of my best dinners with them happened right after Bruce and I had a dessert-and-champagne party to celebrate moving into our new place, my birthday, and Valentine’s Day. I had baked/cooked/worked non-stop for two weeks, and was pooped but excited … until I saw that in Los Angeles people don’t eat desserts, at least not out in the open. (Bruce thinks there are a lot of serial secret eaters here.) I was just crushed, and after everyone left I squeezed the large remainders of twenty-two chocolate desserts into our freezer.
The following week Sue and Bill came for dinner (they weren’t able to make the party), and we told them about our debacle. They were thrilled! …and proceeded to urge me to defrost a few desserts in the microwave for taste tests, then a few more, and on and on until we’d all sampled every single dessert and enjoyed each and every bite, totally guilt-free. We love them!
I decided to add Sue’s recipe for Lemon Pudding Cake as a post on my blog rather than a comment because 1) I don’t want anyone to miss this recipe, about which she says: “I’ve had rave reviews when serving this and had men ask for seconds and thirds. How often does that occur? The men have even asked for the recipe!” And, 2) I need great additions to the non-chocolate-dessert category…so please send yours, too!
Sue’s Lemon Pudding Cake
2 large lemons for 2/3 cup juice, plus zest
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups whole milk
Preheat oven to 350. Grate 1 tablespoon fine lemon zest (my cat is now lying on my keyboard so it’s tough to type), and reserve. Squeeze 2/3 cup lemon juice.
Whisk together four, salt, and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl. Whisk together yolks, milk, zest, and juice in small bowl and add to flour mixture whisking until just combined.
Beat egg whites in another large bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks are formed. Beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar a bit at a time until whites are stiff and glossy. Whisk about 1/4 whites into batter to lighten and then fold remaining batter into whites gently folding (but thoroughly). Batter will be thin.
Pour into buttered 1 1/2 quart shallow baking dish and bake in a hot water bath until puffed and golden, about 45 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool and serve warm or room temperature. I add a couple of fresh blueberries or raspberries for color when serving.
Active time: 20 minutes (who could ask for more?)
Total time: 90 minutes