meyer lemon pudding cakes

I expected to break down at some point that day, my first Thanksgiving without my father present, but I kept it together. I made those potatoes after all, the ones I wrote about here. I think it helped that I eased myself into it, buying the potatoes one day, the cream cheese on another, not making too big a fuss over the significance. They weren’t nearly as good as Dad’s, but I didn’t expect them to be.

It was an unusual Thanksgiving, not having Dad around. This was also the first Thanksgiving without my father-in-law, who died in July after an unexpected and lengthy illness. To make up for the hurt we expected to feel that day, my husband and I surrounded ourselves with our remaining family and a hodgepodge of friends. And with food, lots and lots of food.

meyer lemon budino | the merry gourmet

Turns out, being surrounded by friends worked. I was distracted from feeling sad by having my dear friend, Julia, and her family at our Thanksgiving. Of course, her husband’s apple cider cocktails took the edge off and lightened the mood. Our friend Deanna fit right in, despite this being her first meal at our house. Jim and Mary, long time friends of my parents – and now of me and Sam – drove up from Orlando for the day. Sitting around the table after dinner, reminiscing and telling stories of “back when…,” made the day seem quite…normal. Like Thanksgiving should be, and like it always has been.

After everyone had gone home, my mother and I rode to the nursing home to visit Dad. He was completely confused. He had no idea it was Thanksgiving. He recognized us, but he couldn’t really communicate with us. He got mad at us for not bringing him a hammer. For not understanding that he needed one, immediately. That part of the day was sad, but it also made me feel less guilty about not having him at home. The day held no significance to him. And for that, for his not placing importance on the day, I was grateful.

*   *   *   *   *

Our friend Jim appreciates food just as much as I do, and one of the things I’ve loved about having him and Mary at our Thanksgiving each year is the chance to catch up and learn what he’s been excited about eating or cooking. This year, he and Mary gave us a gift of 18 or so Meyer lemons, right off their tree, along with a bunch of fresh herbs (thyme and sage) and a couple of bottles of chardonnay. Jim suggested that I make a Meyer lemon sorbet with the lemons, but it was cold the weekend after Thanksgiving, so I opted for something less chilly.

These Meyer lemon pudding cakes were amazing. The top cake-like layer is delicate and light and unassuming. But when your spoon slips through the surface, the pale yellow pudding layer is revealed: creamy, just a bit tart, and simply delightful.

I wanted to do right by those gifted Meyer lemons, and I think I accomplished that.

meyer lemon pudding cakes | the merry gourmet

Yield: Serves 6.

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes

This recipe comes from Bon Appétit and is just slightly tweaked from the original. I opted to use all Meyer lemons in this version. If you're feeling fancy, make your own vanilla whipped cream to serve with each pudding cake.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place oven rack in middle position. Butter six 3/4-cup ramekins. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, flour, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Whisk in milk.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in a medium bowl until frothy. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites into lemon mixture in 2 additions. Divide batter among prepared ramekins, and place ramekins in a roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins, taking care not to splash water into the ramekins. Bake until tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched, about 30 minutes. Remove ramekins from water. Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream.

Slightly tweaked from Bon Appétit, September 2006.

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12 Responses to “yay for s’mores!”

  1. JulieD — June 1, 2010 @ 9:37 am

    Yummy! I love how you captured how messy they can get…but who cares that they’re messy. 🙂

  2. TasteStopping — June 1, 2010 @ 9:50 am

    Oh, your photos are making me crave s’mores right now! I’m so glad that the marshmallows pleasantly surprised you. A fresh marshmallow is hard to describe to anyone who has only had store-bought. It’s a whole different animal! And the other components of this kit, the crackers and the chocolate, are delicious in their own right. Put ’em all together and you definitely have gourmet s’mores!

    Congratulations on winning your Gourmet S’mores Kit from RegionalBest.com and thanks for joining the TasteStopping S’mores Tasting Party!

    Best,
    Casey

  3. Susan J — June 1, 2010 @ 9:58 am

    Love the pic of your daughter with her eyes closed just enjoying that s’more!
    My son showed me his sticky fingers after devouring his. 😛

  4. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle — June 1, 2010 @ 11:15 am

    I’m with you regarding marshmallows; not sure there is a reason to just pop one in your mouth plain…weren’t they made expecting we would finish them off with fire?

    Have seen a lot of s’more recipes lately which just led to this random thought…why don’t Girl Scout Cookies offer a s’more cookie…seems a perfect fit; that’s where I had most of my s’more adventures; at camp!

  5. megan — June 1, 2010 @ 12:54 pm

    Oh what fun it is to relive all this s’more goodness. Thanks for sharing. Your daughter looks like she is in heaven!

  6. macaroni mama — June 1, 2010 @ 9:04 pm

    I just found a s’more recipe that put a banana on the chocolate. Sounded good to me.

  7. Magic of Spice — June 1, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

    Congrats! They look wonderful, and funny I test for quality the very same way:)

  8. Congrats on winning the giveaway! S’mores are just one of those childhood treats that you never outgrow. Yours look good enough to eat right from the computer. 🙂

  9. RJ Flamingo — June 1, 2010 @ 11:53 pm

    There is no better judge than a kid with sticky marshmallow/chocolate fingers. 😉 Totally fun!

  10. Stephanie — June 2, 2010 @ 12:05 am

    The marshmallows were my favorite part! There’s nothing like fresh marshmallow. Making them at home is pretty magical, I totally recommend trying it!

  11. Pingback: Tweets that mention yay for s’mores! | the merry gourmet -- Topsy.com

  12. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — June 3, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

    These are totally spectacular! I think I need to source me a gourmet smores kit!!!!

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