Monday, February 1, 2016

Lemon Pudding Cake (Gluten-free!)


It's February! Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and I'm playing for the couples' team, as usual. Just because I'm playing for the couples, however, doesn't mean that I can't still relate to what it's like being single...which is why you should consider a dessert that you can make for many or for one, all with the same simple recipe.

When planning a loving night out, or loving night in, the biggest mistake is overeating on such a decadent feast, that you are sometimes too full to *(ahem)* celebrate later with your partner. Instead of a triple-decker chocolate lava cake topped with forty chocolate-covered strawberries, may I suggest a lighter, more refreshing, yet just as tasty lemon pudding cake? This tasty treat is a self-saucing pudding that would make even Mary Berry happy.

As always, this recipe is in grams, because you should really get a digital scale if you plan on baking, and nothing is more comforting than knowing your baked goods will turn out exactly the same because you're measuring properly. This particular recipe is gluten-free, but can be made with wheat flour, if you like. This is delicious, satisfies the sweet tooth, is so simple to create, and is light enough that you won't feel bloated at the end of the night. Once again, this is a dish that you can create for you and your slew of single girlfriends, or for you and your lover. Or for just you, as you binge watch The Great British Bake Off on Netflix. I don't really judge.

Lemon Pudding Cake
Most glassware can be used to bake in for single
portions! Isn't that exciting?
Adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe, serves 6(or just one big one)

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 150 g (about 3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • Zest & juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup/8 fl oz whole milk(you can also use cashew milk, if you like)
  • 28 g butter, melted
  • 70 g (1/2 cup-ish) brown rice flour
  • 1 fat pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp citrus liqueur(Cointreau, etc.)**
  • Fresh berries for garnish
  • Powdered sugar, as needed, for dusting
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and decide what kind of containers you'd like to use. I used these cute little tumbler glasses from IKEA for my personal portion puddings, smeared with a little butter or coconut oil. I also had this big souffle dish that I love to use for this kind of thing, so just one big one of those is perfectly fine. Next, you'll want to set up a water bath for these, so find a baking pan that has at least 2" high sides that you can set your dishes in. (Don't worry, I'll explain how to do a water bath for these a little later.)

Place your egg whites and about half your sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment. Meanwhile, take the remaining sugar, the egg yolks, the lemon zest, lemon juice, liqueur(optional) and whisk together in a separate bowl until light and lemon-colored. Add in the flour, stir to combine(it'll be difficult with the whisk, but will be okay) and then about half the milk to make smooth. You want a really smooth paste at this stage before adding the rest of the milk. Don't worry about overmixing too much, because it's all rice flour, so no gluten! 

The batter is going to be really thin. That's okay!
With your butter melted, go ahead and stir that in using the whisk, trying to get that as evenly distributed as possible. If you like, you can set this batter in the fridge to let the rice flour granules soak up that moisture, until you're ready to bake. This is a very easy recipe to make ahead, which might be fun for a date night idea or activity to do with your friends.

Whip your egg whites to a stiff peak. This means that you whip, using your whisk attachment, until the mixture has about tripled in volume, is very shiny, and holds a peak when turned upside-down. You've over-whipped it if it's dry, and sort of breaks apart, but it's easy to fix by just whipping in one more egg white until smooth and shiny.

See how shiny that is? It's holding it's little "hills" in the bowl, which tells you it's time to check it.

Ooooh, do I have a stiff peak? Yes, I do!
When you have a very nice stiff peak as shown above, go ahead and mix about a third of that into your very-very-very wet batter. Start off with a dollop at first, and just whisk in, to lighten it. Then take a spatula and fold the rest in, about a third at a time, just making sure that you have minimal white streaks.


It's going to seem like an impossible task to thicken up this mixture when your batter is so wet, but it'll turn into a very light and delightful little batter when it's all done.


With your batter all together in one big bowl, pour it into your chosen baking vessels. I made a double-batch, so I chose to do both. In nine little cups from IKEA, I evenly distributed my batter to about two-thirds of the way full, and then poured the rest into my big souffle dish. You can do it all in one big dish or in many small dishes, depending on your preference. This batter is very pourable so you shouldn't have an issue at all. 

When you've got your batter in your baking vessels, you're ready to make your water bath. Place your baking vessel into a larger vessel that has somewhat high sides. Then open your oven door and place the entire apparatus into the middle rack of your preheated oven. Take some water and pour into the larger vessel, so that the water level comes up to about halfway up the sides of your cake vessel. Close the oven door then let bake for about 25-30 minutes.

When done, turn off the oven and crack open the door. Let that sit open for 5 minutes, then remove from oven entirely and let sit on the counter, out of the water bath, for another 5. 

SAFETY NOTE: If you're cooking using glass, please be careful of sudden temperature change. Do not sit your glass containers on a cold countertop, as it may shatter. Set it, instead, on a pot-holder, a warm towel, a cutting board, etc., and try to keep any cool surfaces away from it. 

You can serve this warm, or let chill in the fridge until you're ready...but be aware that it might sink just a little if cold. To serve, run a knife or small offset spatula around the edges to release and put a plate over the top. Flip over to let the pudding fall onto the plate, and then you've got your beautiful self-saucing pudding, ready to be garnished with fresh berries and powdered sugar.

Of course, eating this plain is just fine with me, too. Happy cooking and happy eating!