Saturday, January 8, 2011

Great-Aunt Ellen's Upside Down Lemon Pudding Cakes

Ooohh....these are good.  These are really good. Almost as good as limoncello. They taste like they're time-consuming to make but they're not. They're sooooo fast to put together! They keep for a couple days in the fridge (so you can dazzle unexpected dinner guests). And, they can be enjoyed warm, at room temp, or straight from the fridge. What could be better?

America's culinary history talks about pudding cakes and somehow the lemon version morphed into an automatic two-layer job - as the concoction bakes, a soft lemon pudding separates from the light layer cake (how does that work?). Someone’s Aunt Ellen must have staked her reputation on these refreshing desserts as cookbooks and the web talk non-stop about that Aunt Ellen.  By the time this recipe trickled down to this blog, it became Great-Aunt Ellen's Upside-Down Lemon Pudding Cake.  The pudding's a little softer than in other versions floating around - the lack of structure adds to the old fashiony feel and luscious taste of this delicious dessert.

Don't let the bain-marie scare you off, it's a piece of cake (uh, sorry for the pun).

Find a baking pan that will fit the ramekins.

Whip egg whites until barely stiff.

To the softened butter, add sugar, grated zest and beat until light and fluffy (no need to wash beaters after whipping the egg whites).  Beat in egg yolks.

Mix in the flour and salt, and then the  milk and lemon juice.

Fold in the whipped egg whites.

Ladle mixture into ramekins ensuring batter and fluff are evenly distributed.  Position pan on oven rack and add enough boiling water to the pan so that the water is halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake in the water bath until firm and cool on a wire rack.

Great-Aunt Ellen's Upside Down Lemon Pudding Cakes

2  eggs, large, separated
2   Tbls. unsalted butter, softened
2/3  cup granulated sugar
2  Tbls. finely grated lemon zest
2  Tbls. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup lemon juice

Butter the insides of four 8-oz. or six 6-oz. ramekins.  Size a pan or pans to fit ramekins for a water bath (bain-marie).  Adjust oven rack to middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 º F.  Start heating water for the water bath.

In a medium mixing bowl, whip egg whites with an electric mixer until soft stiff peaks form.  Set aside.

In another medium mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest together until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, mixing well.  Mix in the flour and salt and then the lemon juice and milk.  With a rubber spatula, fold in the stiff egg whites.

Ladle the mixture into the ramekins so that the mixture is evenly divided.  Place the ramekins in the pan place on the oven rack. Create a bain-marie by add enough boiling water so that the water level is halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the tops are golden and the center springs back when pressed with a finger.

When cakes are done, carefully remove the pan from the oven.  With the aid of a butter knife and pancake turner or with canning tongs, remove ramekins from the water bath and place on a wire rack.  Cool completely, for about 1 1/2 hours before inverting. To serve, run a paring knife around the inside edge and turn the ramekin upside down on the serving plate.  Cakes can be garnished with curls of lemon zest, powdered sugar or berries, or served with whipped cream.  Serves 4-6.

Note:  Substitute other citrus such as oranges or limes.

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1 comment:

  1. I'm making these for ladies night at my house next week!