When I was growing up, I remember going through a magazine with Mom and picking out a lemon dessert. The dessert is called “Lemon Souffle”. I still have a copy of the magazine cutout (now digitally permanent!) and I have decided to give it a go. The spring weather we are finally getting here in NYC is making me want to eat this dessert.
Remembering the dessert and looking at the recipe, I don’t think I would call this a soufflé. We ate it chilled, so there is a layer of a cake, almost like a sponge on top, and a layer of lemon custard on the bottom. Not the puffy, hold your breath, airy dessert that I would characterize as a classic French soufflé.
I went hunting around my cook books, wondering whether this is a uniquely Japanese dessert…or whether it is called something else in the US. And there it was, in the very first cookbook I ever purchased….The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. The ratios are slightly different, but the description sounds exactly the same. In this country, it’s called Lemon Pudding.
Here it is:
Lemon Pudding/Lemon “Souffle”
(adapted from Mom’s old magazine article, above, and The Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
40g butter, at room temperature
140g sugar (separated into 100g and 40g – 40g to be used for whipping the meringue)
3 eggs, separated
Juice of 1 lemon
Grated zest of 1 lemon
30g flour (I used cake flour)
confectioner’s sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F; boil a kettle of water (for the water bath)
In a medium bowl, with a wooden spoon, beat butter. add 100g of sugar, a little at a time. When all of the sugar has been incorporated into the butter, add egg yolk, one at a time mixing well to blend after adding each yolk. The mixture at this point should be egg yolk yellow and starting to get fluffy.
Add the lemon zest, and add the lemon juice a little at a time, beating well to incorporate. If you add the lemon juice all at once, this mixture may separate. (The mixture will look a little curdled. Do not worry!)
Add the flour, and then the milk, adding a little at a time and making sure to incorporate.
Beat egg whites until they are foamy. Add the 40g of sugar a little at a time, beating all the while, until stiff peaks form.
Mix 1/4 of the egg whites and mix into the egg yolk mixture, when that is fully incorporated, add the remainder of the egg whites, and fold it gently but quickly until no white streaks are visible.
The original recipe has you bake this in a buttered and floured sponge form, I am baking it in a pie dish since that is what my Mom did.
Place the filled pan into a larger pan, fill the outside pan with the hot water until the water is 1/2 way up the pie dish.
Bake 40-50 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let cool and serve either tepid or cold. Mom always refrigerated it and we had it cold. Fannie Farmer wants you to eat it with heavy cream…I am totally happy with it plain!
I don’t know if you can see it, but see, there’s a cake layer on top and a custard/pudding layer on the bottom!