Saturday, January 29, 2011

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake

Here’s the first (and so far, best) thing I made with those Meyer lemons I got from Central Market. Those lemons were bigger than average, and had such a deep yellow color! But there are different varieties of Meyer lemons, or at least different growing practises, because I got more from another store and they looked pretty much like any run-of-the-mill lemons. I adapted this recipe from one I found on The Traveler’s Lunchbox, which was itself adapted from a recipe by Lori Longbotham.

This pudding cake was like the lovechild of a soufflé and a cheesecake. It really reminded me of rich cheesecake, but lighter and fluffier – and it was lactose-free, of course. You only need a few Meyer lemons, and you could use regular lemons for this, too. I cooked the dish much longer than the recommended time, but that’s because my soufflé dish was narrower and deeper than the one on The Traveler’s Lunchbox, so that’s why it had to cook longer. Keep an eye on it and adjust the cooking time according to the size and shape of your soufflé dish. This makes 4 servings.

4 Tbsp (¼ cup) unsalted butter at room temperature, or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp finely grated Meyer (or regular) lemon zest
3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice (or ¼ cup regular lemon juice)
1/3 cup all-purpose white flour
8 oz plain Greek yogurt (lactose-free)
¼ tsp salt
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Butter a 1-quart (1-liter) soufflé dish. Have ready a large baking pan which will accommodate your soufflé dish.

Beat the butter at medium speed until light. Add the sugar and zest and beat until combined. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add half the lemon juice, half the flour and half the yogurt and beat until smooth; repeat with remaining lemon juice, flour and yogurt.

Beat the egg whites at medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to medium-high, add the salt, and beat to stiff peaks. Add one-quarter of the whites to the lemon mixture and gently fold in. Continue to fold in whites one-quarter at a time. Transfer it to the prepared soufflé dish. Place the dish in the larger pan and carefully pour boiling water around it to a depth of 1 inch.

Bake for 50 minutes to an hour (or more if your soufflé dish is deep), until the top is golden brown, the center is just set, and the top springs back when lightly touched. Remove from the water bath and cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes.

Lightly dust with powdered sugar before serving (I didn't bother) and serve warm, scooping up some of the pudding at the bottom of the dish along with the cake.

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