I’m actually going to be home for Father’s Day this year, so my mom and I are planning a brunch. We’ve set the menu so far as Canadian Bacon Strata, Tropical Fruit Salad, and home fries, but I wanted to find a great lemon dessert. I’ve had my eye on the Lemon Custard Cakes recipe from the January/February 2008 issue of Everyday Food, so I decided to give it a shot.
The custard cakes bake in a hot water bath (like many cheesecakes), so I started by putting a kettle of water on to boil. I buttered 6 6-ounce custard cups and placed them in a dish towel-lined roasting pan. (The dish towel will be wet in the oven, so don’t worry about it burning.) To prep my ingredients, I separated 3 eggs, zested a lemon, and squeezed 2 lemons to produce 1/4 cup of juice.
In a large bowl, I whisked together the 3 egg yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar until it was light. Then, I whisked in 2 tablespoons of flour. I gradually whisked in the 1/4 cup of lemon juice, followed by 1 cup of milk and the lemon zest (2 – 3 teaspoons).
In a separate bowl, I used an electric mixer to whip the 3 egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon of salt until soft peaks formed. I added the egg whites to the lemon batter and folded them in gently with a whisk. (The batter was very liquid, which the recipe noted would happen.)
I divided the batter among the prepared custard cups, placed the roasting pan in the oven (rack pulled out a bit), and then poured boiling water into the pan until it came halfway up the sides of the custard cups. (I didn’t quite have enough in my kettle, so I had to add hot tap water.) I pushed the rack back into the oven and baked the custard cakes at 350F until they were browned and puffy (20 minutes). I let them cool for about 20 minutes and then served them dusted with powdered sugar.
These had really terrific lemon flavor, but I think my expectations were too high for such a light dessert. I wanted the custard on the bottom of the cake to be thick and pudding-like, but it was pretty liquid. That *may* be because I used 1% milk. If I make these again, I’ll try whole milk instead. Dr. O gave the cakes his stamp of approval, though.
I think I’m going to go with good old lemon bars for Father’s Day. Hopefully, I’ll get a decent photo so I can post them next week.
TIPS: As I mentioned, my kettle of water wasn’t enough to create a hot water bath that went halfway up the pudding cups. Next time, I’ll boil a large pot of water to make sure I have enough.
Recipe link: Lemon Custard Cakes