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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23 Responses to “meyer lemon almond cake”

  1. 1
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    Jean — January 6, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

    Two of my favorite baking ingredients. I bet this is as delicious as it is beautiful. I can almost smell the almond paste… 🙂

  2. 2
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    Aggie — January 6, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

    what a nice post to read through. I need to take your advice on writing out all of our already made plans on the calendar in ink (how about let’s just start by putting them on the so called calendar!) 🙂 I always say I want to get more calendar organized each year…such a work in progress for me…
    on to the cake. this is totally my kind of cake. I don’t bake often but I would totally bake this! I love the almond paste, and of course the meyer lemons!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 6th, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

      Thanks, Aggie. If I don’t do my calendar on Dec 31st or Jan 1st, it never gets done. It’s now an annual tradition that I really look forward to.

  3. 3
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    Kelsey/TheNaptimeChef — January 6, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

    Do you hear me wailing up in CT that the weather is too harsh for Meyer lemons and I must pay a fortune for them at Balduccis?! I am so psyched to meet you at BHF!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 6th, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

      Kelsey – I am SO looking forward to meeting you, too!

  4. 4
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    Brian @ A Thought For Food — January 6, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

    I have to get my hands on some meyer lemons. I haven’t had a single one this winter and I’m starting to feel a void.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 6th, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

      You should have visited me in Florida when you were here, silly. I would have shared!

  5. 5
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    Heather (The Menu Mama) — January 6, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

    The cake looks fantastic, I really must try this one. My husband and I took a child-free trip to NYC this past October, it was heavenly. 🙂

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 6th, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

      Don’t you just love child-free trips? We try to do one or two each year.

  6. 6
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    Lynn — January 6, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

    Sounds like you have great year planned. And than you for the lucious sounding cake. It’s going on my must bake list!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 6th, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

      Oh, you totally should. If you do, let me know how it turns out for you! You’ll notice that mine fell in the middle, but that’s the beauty of the glaze — no one will notice. 🙂

  7. 7
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    Almond cakes are great because they are always so moist, and like pound cake they just get better with age. Meyer lemons and orange flower water must make this cake so fragrant!

  8. 8
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    Barbara @ Vino Luci Style — January 7, 2011 @ 10:26 am

    You are making my attempts to cut back on sweets hard; this cake is so up my alley! I think I know what I’m going to make for the next Denver area blogger Meetup at my home; I am getting a box of Meyer Lemons delivered any day now and this cake just needs to be made. Lemons and almond; I’m not sure I’ve ever combined the two and can’t wait!

  9. 9
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    Lori @ Lemons and Lavender — January 7, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

    I love lemons, especially the Meyer variety, and a friend has three backyard trees exploding with the little gems. So glad I’m not one for making New Years Resolutions!! Looking forward to trying your version of this cake!

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  11. 10
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    This cake sounds wonderful. I made something similar recently with marzipan and orange. Can’t wait to try this version.

  12. 11
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    Gail — January 8, 2011 @ 11:53 am

    Meyer lemons are such a wonderful treat. Beautiful cake, MJ!

  13. 12
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    briarrose — January 9, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

    Delicious. Almond and lemon is such a lovely mix. The scent of this baking must be heavenly.

  14. 13
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    foodies at home — January 9, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

    This looks like the perfect way to get back into the swing of things! Have fun at your blogging conferences!

  15. 14
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    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — January 11, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

    This cake looks absolutely amazing!!

  16. 15
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    Lucy — January 11, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

    This post has encouraged me to forget about the holidays being over and truly look forward to all the exciting things 2011 will bring! Almond and lemon are two of my favourite flavours so this cake just looks totally gorgeous to me 🙂

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