Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lemon Pudding

When you have a friendship that goes back 35-40 years you cherish it. You nurture it. You revel in its glory. The four of us have countless escapades to reflect and postulate. We started out as gangly teenagers, living in the moment, walking enthusiastically into our future. Lucky to have a lifetime of vivid memories, we reverently count our blessings.

Madeleine, Christine and Tuki come from three corners of the continent. The weekend is a blur of regurgitated memories, obsessive examination of old photographs, deep analysis or our collective neurosis and the resounding sound of infectious laughter. All this punctuated by long lunches, dinners and plenty of tongue lubricant! I pan fry blackened tilapia with corn pilaf. Crusty roasted pears are stuffed with Gorgonzola. Frankies are rolled in eggy tortillas. Baba Ghanoush forms a smoky spread on crackers. Madeleine quickly puts together a scrumptious shrimp and sausage paella. Meals consist of insane quantities of shrimp and grits, crab cakes and calamari, with a token side of salad! Christine and Tuki take over clean up duty. And every meal has to culminate in dessert. Sweet teeth override dietary restrictions. We nibble delicious pistachio pops. We divide mini sweet potato, key lime and buttermilk pies into equal portions. I make affogato. Madeleine brings an intriguing supari cake! Yes... A cake that's flavored with supari!!!! Delicious to the Indian palate. And I make my favorite lemon pudding.

My Mum found this recipe in her Better Homes & Garden Dessert Cookbook. I can still see the splattered page having used the book on many occasions. She made it in ramekins, in casseroles and in Pyrex. It was always a big hit every time she baked it. Not just with home folk, but everyone who took a spoonful. This pudding assembles in a jiffy. The result is a light, fluffy cake layer, that hides creamy lemon custard. Batter separates as it bakes,  creating a layered pudding. Run your spoon through the pudding and you are rewarded with a bite of moist lemon cake along with a schmear of lemon custard. Fresh tasting, light as a feather and seriously addictive.

Serves 4-6

3 Eggs
1 1/2 cups Milk
1 tablespoon Canola Oil
2 teaspoon Lemon zest
1/2 cup Lemon juice
1/4 cup Flour
1 cup Sugar
A pinch of Kosher Salt

Separate eggs. Beat yolks lightly. Keep whites aside.

Heat milk till it begins to boil. It should be scalding hot.

Add a little hot milk to yolks, beating vigorously so the yolks do not scramble. Slowly add the yolks to hot milk stirring well to incorporate.

Add canola oil to milk.

Mix sugar, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt.

Pour hot milk into flour mixture and whisk well to mix.

Beat egg whites till stiff peaks form.

Gently fold egg whites into lemon batter. Use a rubber spatula to turn and fold. Do not over mix. 

Heat oven to 350F.

Scrape batter into a 6"x9" glass baking dish.

Place baking dish in a large pan. 

Pour up to an inch of hot water into the larger pan . 

Bake for 25-30 minutes. The top should be dotted with a few light brown spots.

Serve pudding warm.


The pudding could be made ahead of time and reheated just before serving. 

You could use ramekins to make individual portions. This recipe would make 8-10 portions.

We talk about lost loves over coffee. We laugh at our outrageous storied past eating banana chips. We drink snake juice aka vodka and peach schnapps till it becomes a truth serum. We eat copious amounts of food while lamenting our lack of willpower, carb overload and the state of our menopausal bodies. We eat spoonfuls of lemon air. Again and again. No plates needed. Satisfaction comes with sweetness and the desire to be, as Tuki calls us, bosom buddies.