• 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
• 3 large eggs, separated
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Meyer lemon juice
• 2 tbsp finely grated Meyer lemon peel
• 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp whole milk
• 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter six 3/4-inch custard cups or ramekins. Set a pot of water (at least six cups) on the stove to simmer, or bring water to simmer in an electric kettle.
Combine 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, flour, lemon juice and lemon peel in large bowl; whisk until blended. Whisk in milk.
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in medium bowl until lightened and frothy, 1-2 minutes. Add remaining 2 tbsp sugar and beat until soft peaks form - the froth should stick to the beaters when removed from the egg whites but not be stiff. Fold (don't stir) beaten egg whites into lemon mixture in two additions.
Divide mixture among prepared custard cups using a spoon or ladle. Place custard cups in roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the custard cups. Bake puddings until tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched, about 30 minutes.
NOTES: Don't be afraid of the egg whites. They're the reason that these are so light. Just be sure to fold them into the mixture, instead of stirring. If you stir them into lemon mixture, it'll deflate all the air bubbles and completely defeat the purpose.
The hot water here is important to keep the pudding-cakes at an even temperature while they cook. But it's also extremely hot water, so be careful. If you can, pour the water into the roasting pan once it's already in the oven, so as to avoid giving yourself second degree burns.
The small amount of flour in this recipe helps to provide structure to the pudding as it rises. But this is still bakes like a straight-up souffle, so if you're having trouble getting these to rise up, try this: after buttering the ramekins, sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar into one. Swirl the ramekin to coat the bottom and sides with a thin layer of sugar, then pour the sugar into the next ramekin and repeat until all are coated. This will give the batter/mixture something to grab hold of as it rises.
Serve this with a little whipped cream, some fresh berries, maybe a dusting of powdered sugar. Or if you're a lemon freak like I am, serve it with a dollop of lemon curd.
Pairs Well With
This recipe actually falls somewhere in the intersection of cake, pudding, and souffle. It's light and simple and makes for a homey-yet-elegant dessert. And it comes together in a snap. As it bakes, a delicate cake-like layer forms on the top and a luscious, lemony pudding forms below. The original recipe from a San Francisco restaurant uses Meyer lemons and you should, too; they are sweeter and brighter than the standard Eureka lemons, and are not nearly as acidic.