April 05, 2012

Meyer Lemon and Basil Pudding Cakes

I am a proud DC biker.  I know everyone probably hates me because of my two wheels, but I love my morning commute slash exercise complete with the bike version of car singing.  In that I pop in my headphones and belt it out because I don't really care who hears me.  I ran into a giant obstacle to my commute when my trusty U-lock broke.  I tried to use a cheap-o one and it literally broke 24 hours later.  So, I put my pride in my adorable bike basket and rode down to Georgetown to get a new lock, mainly because I love sifting through the Dean and Deluca down the street.  On this trip, I grabbed a few meyer lemons on the cheap when I was waiting to check out.

Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and an orange, smaller and sweeter than a typical lemon.  I have always heard great things but had never tried the baby lemons.  Excited about my purchase, I took to pinterest for a way to use this incredible ingredient.  I ended up finding a recipe from Williams Sonoma for lemon pudding cakes.  It looked like a lot of sugar was added to balance the lemon, so I toned down the sugar content and created a basil simple syrup to add to the egg whites instead of straight sugar.

It was a surprising texture, with a fluffy top from the whipped egg whites and a thick almost curd like pudding at the base.  Sweet lemon flavor and anise flavor from the basil, definitely recommend you try this.  Makes me want to make curd, stay tuned!

Meyer Lemon and Basil Pudding Cakes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup basil simple syrup (regular simple syrup is fine as well)
1/3 cup meyer lemon juice (about 3-4 meyer lemons)
1 teaspoon meyer lemon zest
1 1/3 cups milk

First, preheat the oven to 350 F.  Sift together the flour and salt to incorporate.  Beat together the egg yolks and 2/3 cup sugar for 2-3 minutes with a hand mixer, until it is thicker and a lighter color.

Add in the flour and beat in for about 2 more minutes.

Add the zest, juice and milk to finish the pudding base.

Clean your beaters thoroughly to get off any fat from the egg yolks.  Whip up the egg whites until foamy, add the basil simple syrup, and continue to beat until soft peaks form.

Stir in 1/4 of the egg whites into the pudding base to temper the texture of the batter.  Add the rest of the egg whites and fold gently until you see no more streaks.  This batter has the tendency to separate, so be sure to incorporate from the bottom up.

Spoon into small 6 oz ramekins, put those ramekins in a water bath, and bake for 40-45 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven.

Pull from the oven and let sit in the water bath for 10 minutes before serving warm!

Basil Simple Syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed basil leaves.

In a small saucepan, heat up the water and the sugar until the sugar dissolves.  Add the packed basil leaves and let steep over low heat for 10 minutes.

Strain the basil leaves from the syrup and enjoy!  Let cool before using in the egg whites.

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