On Saturday night, A. had sifted through my new baking book and found these lemon steam puddings and I baked them on Sunday! Now, these delicate little things are steamed in the oven (in ramekins) on a roasting pan filled with water, which reminds me a little of how I made dulce de leche, which if you recall, was a splendid disaster. So little oven + big pan full of hot water + uncooperative aluminum foil makes for a pretty bleak equation… but somehow, these turned out pretty awesome. They were light and airy and the lemon curd was just the right touch of tangy delightfulness. Yuummms :)

And not to mention, this recipe contains some of my favourite things to do in baking: separating the eggs and whipping egg whites (It’s weird I know, I can’t explain myself – perhaps it’s cognitive dissonance for the hours spent whipping egg whites by hand in my poor student baking days).  The trickiest part is actually finding a roasting pan that’s deep enough to cover the ramekins (and preferably one that does not leak like the first foil pan I tried) and the maneuvering of said pan when it is filled with hot, hot water (this is especially true if your oven is tiny).

Here’s the condensed recipe for Lemon Steamed Pudding (from The Craft of Baking):

4 large eggs, at room temperature
Unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup of milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice, let sit for 5 mins)
1/4 cup strained fresh lemon juice (approximately 1 1/2 lemons)

Grease the six 4-ounce ramekins with the butter and coat them using the 2 Tbsp of sugar.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, the flour, salt, and lemon zest.

Separate the egg yolks from egg whites. Whisk together buttermilk, lemon juice and yolks. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour about one third of the buttermilk mixture into the center, whisk together to form a smooth paste.  Add the remaining buttermilk mixture and whisk until well mixed.

Whip the egg whites to soft peaks.

Gently fold the egg whites into the batter in three additions, only really fully combining the whites with the last addition. The finished batter will look broken.

Ladle the batter into the prepared ramekins, filling each all the way to the rim.  Cover the pan with foil, leaving the front side loose.  Place the pan in the oven and pour enough hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Seal the foil over the pan.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Then open the foil to release the steam; replace the foil and seal it. Rotate the pan and continue to bake until the puddings spring back and the tops feel dry to the touch, 10 to 15 minutes more, checking and releasing the steam after 10 minutes.  Remove the foil from the pan. Carefully transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the puddings cool to room temperature in the water.  Then remove them from the water and store them at room temperature until ready to serve.