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Lemon Pudding Cake

If you have an unlined copper bowl, you can use it for whipping the egg whites, omitting the cream of tartar. Cooks use cream of tartar to help stabilize beaten egg whites, but copper interacts chemically with egg whites to yield much the same result. If whipping to soft peaks, the peaks should droop when the beaters are lifted; if whipping to stiff peaks, they should stand upright.

To make whipped cream, in a large metal bowl, combine 1 cup well-chilled heavy cream, 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 2 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat until soft peaks form.

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 large lemons
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • Whipped cream for serving (optional; see note above)

Directions:

Mix the batter
Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Grate 2 tsp. zest from the lemons and squeeze 1/3 cup juice.

In a large bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of the sugar, the flour and the salt. Add the melted butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and egg yolks and continue whisking until smooth. Whisk in the milk.

Beat the egg whites
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until foamy. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until the whites hold stiff, shiny peaks, about 1 minute; do not overwhip.

Using a rubber spatula, fold one-third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whites just until no white streaks remain. Pour the batter into the 8-inch square baking dish.

Bake the cake
Place the filled baking dish into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and pour hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake until the top of the cake is evenly light brown and firm, about 40 minutes. There may be several small cracks on top. Remove the baking dish from the water bath, place on a wire rack and let cool.

Serve the cake warm, at room temperature or cold. Scoop out each serving with a large spoon and accompany with whipped cream. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Desserts, by Elinor Klivans (Oxmoor House, 2007).