this near forgotten dessert, with its seemingly magical formation of layers -- airy and soufflé like on top, dense, lemony custard below, is an American favorite. The recipe has roots in flour puddings, like the 1796 recipe from American cookery made with cinnamon, nutmeg, and whole eggs. Eventually, lemon replaced the spices, beaten egg whites became a favorite, and by the 19th century, sponge pudding recipe is relying on a water bath appeared.
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest and 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, from four lemons.
five large eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
pinch cream of tartar
1adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 325°. Grease an 8 inch square baking dish. Place a kitchen towel at the bottom of the roasting pan, arrange the prepared baking dish, towel, and set aside.
2Whisk the flour and cornstarch together in a bowl. In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, and lemon zest together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the flour mixture, and beat until incorporated. Slowly add the lemon juice and milk and mix until just combined.
3In a medium bowl, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar with the electric mixer on medium low speed until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually whip in the remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar until the whites form stiff peaks, 1 to 3 minutes.
4Whisk one third of the egg whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites, one spoonful at a time, until well combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish.
Place the roasting pan in the oven and carefully pour enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake until the surface is Golden Brown and the edges are set. The center should jiggle slightly when gently shaken. Bake for about one hour.
Remove the baking dish from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and cool for at least one hour. Dust the cake with powdered sugar and serve. Serves eight.
About this Recipe
Course/Dish: Fruit Desserts