In winter, there is nothing quite like a warm, saucy pudding – ideally with cream – to make you feel like you are snuggled up in a blanket next to the fireside, tucked away in a log cabin, warm and content. Except in my case the fireside is actually a roaring gas heater, and our chilly little Victorian isn’t quite a log cabin, but the principle is the same. Principle: warm dessert makes winter more bearable. This dessert is also great because you are likely to have all of the ingredients – perhaps with the exception of the ground almonds – in your cupboard already, so you can whip it up when unexpected guests pop in to take advantage of your gas “fire”, penchant for winter baking and abundance of red wine.
Saucy Lemon Puddings
200ml castor sugar
juice and zest of 2/3 lemons (depending on size)
3 large eggs
60ml ground almonds
Preheat the oven to 180°C. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy. If you forgot to take the butter out of the fridge in time, you can cheat and nuke it in the microwave, but ONLY for 5 seconds. Then check it, and repeat if necessary, checking every time. You don’t want the butter to melt, just to soften. Separate the eggs, and add the egg yolks and lemon zest to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix until combined. Gradually stir in the flour and almonds, alternately with the milk, to make a batter. Stir in the lemon juice. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until they form soft peaks, then fold them into the batter.
Pour the batter into 6 individual ramekins or one oval baking dish – about 20x10x10cm. Essentially you want the batter to be about 5cm deep, so you want a dish that can do that. Place the dish or ramekins in a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with hot water to halfway up the dish. This makes the bottom half of the pudding cook more slowly and not dry out, so you get a saucy layer at the bottom when it’s done.
Bake for 12min for the individual ramekins, and about 25min for the single dish. Let rest for 5min before serving – this allows the sauce to settle out at the bottom. The picture at the top of this post has reduced fat cream (?!) poured over it, but only due to a lack of the real, full-fat, whipped variety at the time. Grate some extra lemon zest over the whipped cream for effect.