Meyer Lemon Soufflé Pudding Cake

It has been a long time since I tried my luck at baking. My previous baking fiascos (see my [in]famous Moomin Pancakes that were showcased in Buzzfeed’s 50 Lessons That Moomins Can Teach You About Life and my failed lemon Moomin biscuits) left me so discouraged I couldn’t stand the thought of more failure in the kitchen.

That said, lately I have been craving lemony desserts and when I found this beautiful Lemon-Soufflé Pudding Cake recipe in Bon Appétit I decided I had to give it a go. I actually had the real deal from the precious luncheonette, Maurice, in PDX. So I was excited to see if I could replicate the exact textures and flavours of the restaurant version. Although the recipe doesn’t indicate the specific use of Meyer lemons, I used them because I love the sweet fragrance of Meyers.

Something usually goes wrong when I try to follow a recipe. And with all the steps involved in this one (although quite easy to follow), there were plenty of instances things could have gone wrong. That said, everything, and I mean everything turned out perfectly! I’m super chuffed and quite pleased with myself. The result was a light and fluffy cake on top and the bottom layer a sweet and tangy lemon pudding.

Lucky for hubs’ new workmates,  instead of eating all 8 servings I packed several samplings of the pud for him to share. Have you got a favourite lemon dessert recipe? If you do, please share it in the comments section below!

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Black Sesame Pudding

Another favourite dessert of mine that seems impossible to find in shops is black sesame pudding, better known to Japanese dessert lovers as kurogoma purin (黒ごまプリン). Black sesame pudding, like almond tofu, is a popular dessert of choice in Taiwan and Japan. This type of pudding should not be confused with Spotted Dick or traditional Christmas pudding as the consistency is completely different!

kurogoma puddingI’m not keen of thick custardy puds so I decided to add more milk than cream (3:1) and it came out just how I like it — light and creamy and not too sweet! So if you prefer a thicker pudding then this recipe may not be for you.  In addition, as I did not have access to black sesame paste, I used ground black sesame and this resulted in a lighter coloured pud but still with lots of sesame-goodness! This recipe serves 6-8 people depending on the size of your pudding cups.

black sesame puddingIngredients:

  • 1 packet (28g) powdered unflavoured gelatin
  • 1.5 tbsps cold water
  • 100-120g sugar
  • 690ml skimmed milk
  • 230ml double cream
  • 150g ground black sesame seeds

Preparation method

  1. Soften gelatin by pouring cold water in small bowl and sprinkling gelatin over water; set aside to soften.
  2. Pour milk, sugar and ground sesame seeds in medium sized saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent milk from burning. As soon as sesame mixture comes to a boil, add softened gelatin and stir to combine.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in cream.
  4. Allow mixture to cool for 4-5 minutes — add ice and water to a larger bowl and set bowl containing mixture in ice water.
  5. While custard is cooling, set out verrines/pudding cups.
  6. After cooling, whisk custard for 4-5 minutes then pour mixture into verrines.
  7. Cover containers and place in refrigerator to set until firm (I let mine set for about 3.5-4 hours).
  8. Serve cold, garnished with a dollop of cream and fruit or topping of choice.

The Perfect Dessert

Having lived in Taiwan and Japan, I’ve had heaps of almond tofu (杏仁豆腐). But it seems this delightful bowl of tastiness is hard to find in even the nicest Chinese or Japanese restaurants outside of Asia. The name can be a bit misleading as it is not made of tofu but is more a cross between jelly and pudding. I guess you could say the texture is that of a light panna cotta (with much less cream). So don’t go turning your nose up at the sight of the word tofu!

Almond tofu in my favourite round verrines served on new Moominmamma pie plate (from Moomin Celebration series).

I’ve been experimenting with various measurements of milk, cream and gelatine and I’ve finally got it down the way I like it!  Silky smooth, light and creamy, not too sweet and very almondy.  For the recipe you will need 4 x individual pudding basins, a small mixing bowl, measuring utensils and a fine meshed sieve. Preparation time is less than 15min. ‘Cooking time’ is approximately 2hrs.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 packet (14g) of unflavoured gelatine
  • 6 tbsp boiling water
  • 1.5 to 2 tbsp sugar
  • 350ml skimmed milk
  • 50ml double cream
  • 15ml/1 tbsp almond extract
  • seasonal fresh fruit /mixed tinned fruit

Preparation method

  1. Melt sugar in boiling water, stir until dissolved and quickly add gelatine to the mix.
  2. Add milk and cream and mix well.
  3. Add almond extract and mix well.
  4. Pour the mixture through a fine meshed sieve into your desired basins.
  5. Place in the fridge to chill for at least two hours, or until completely set.
  6. Add some fruit and we’re in dessert heaven!

Baking Experiments – The Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

For a while, according to my not-so-good-with-words-hubby, I was the worst ever cook.  I put him off udon for years after serving up an admittedly minging udon dish. It’s rather difficult to botch udon, but I somehow managed to destroy it. Luckily, I’ve been able to redeem myself and udon in recent years but my baking experiments have been a bit hit or miss.

When it comes to baking, I’ve never been great at following recipes, often confusing tablespoons with teaspoons, salt with sugar, baking soda with baking powder. You know, stuff that matters especially when it comes to baking. To add to the challenge, I’ve also always gravitated toward  ‘healthy’ desserts, like pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (which seem to always come out undercooked) or lemon and blueberry cupcakes, which are more like cornbread muffins (but I reckon that’s due to use of corn meal). Let’s just say that you have to have very refined taste to appreciate the results of my baking experiments.

All joking aside, I think I’ve found my ‘go to’ recipe for a traditional, crowd-pleasing, chocolate chip cookie.  You’ll have to do your own temperature conversions but I promise you won’t be let down by this recipe.  Whether it’s the best ever recipe or not may be up for debate, but it definitely yields some tasty cookies–light crispy coating on the outside, chewy and moist on the inside. Definitely my kind of cookie!

The trick is definitely in the use of hand chopped fine chocolate, adding to the rustic homemade feel.  I’m not too keen on the savoury-sweet combo so I decided to forgo the flaked sea salt.  All in all, this is a fabulous and easy to follow recipe!

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