Grandmother’s Lemon Chiffon Pudding
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to medium
Time: 20 minutes prep, 50 to 55 minutes to bake in oven
Serves: 5 to 6
Truly fabulous cooks seem to stir up comfort foods with little or no effort, just love. This lemony dessert is one of my childhood favorites, made many times by my maternal grandmother. She was such a good Southern cook that at one point in her early years, she ran a boarding house in her tiny South Carolina hometown of Ward, providing hearty meals using the best Low Country meats and vegetables from area farms.
Her easy laugh was a genetic thing. At family reunions she and her siblings —- particularly Irene, Sadie, and S.T. —- would share stories and long-ago memories, and the sounds that followed began as a chuckle and rose to a full-on chorus of belly laughs. They had such fun. And the Southern feast that was laid out on an always-hot June afternoon was incomparable.
Straight from the oven, this dessert is ethereal, perfect for a snowy night when you crave something warm and satisfying. But chill it, and lemon chiffon pudding becomes a totally refreshing finish to a light summer meal, especially when served with ripe, just-picked strawberries or deep red raspberries.
1 cup sugar (I use ¾ cup)
1/3 cup flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon lemon rind
Juice from one lemon
1 cup milk
Butter to grease the souffle dish
Have all ingredients at room temp.
Sift together the sugar and flour. Mix in the softened butter. Add the egg yolks. Fold in the lemon rind and lemon juice. Add the milk, stirring until blended.
Beat the egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the mixture.
Pour into a buttered glass soufflé dish (mine is a 1.75 quart size). Place the souffle dish into a shallow pan of hot water (a 9-inch cake pan works great), and bake all of that in a 350 F oven (the hot water keeps the bottom of the dessert from burning).
After 30 minutes of baking, place a sheet of aluminum foil on the top of the souffle dish so the pudding doesn’t brown anymore. It then needs about 20 to 25 more minutes, for a total baking time of 50 to 55 minutes, depending on how true your oven is.
Serve warm or chilled.
Suggested soundtrack: Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, 2nd movement…one of the silkiest, most beautiful pieces of music ever written