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Individual Lemon Pudding Cakes

For this recipe, the egg whites should be whipped just until they form soft peaks that slump to one side when the beaters are lifted. To make a meringue, the egg whites need to be whipped longer, until they form stiff peaks that will stand upright. The eggs should still appear moist and satiny and not grainy—that is a sign of overwhipping.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
  • 1 1/3 cups milk

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Place eight 1/2-cup ramekins in a large baking dish and pour in water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour and salt. In a separate nonreactive bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of the sugar on medium speed until pale and thick, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour mixture and beat until very thick, 2 minutes more. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and milk.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, whip the egg whites until foamy. Sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and whip until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Using a silicone spatula, stir one-fourth of the egg whites into the lemon mixture. Gently fold in the rest just until no streaks of egg white are visible. Divide the mixture evenly among the ramekins.

Bake until the centers are firm to the touch and the edges pull away slightly from the sides of the ramekins, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven but leave the ramekins in the water bath for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve the pudding cakes warm or at room temperature straight from the ramekins. Serves 8.

Adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book, Edited by Chuck Williams (Oxmoor House, 2009).