220 gm (1 cup)caster sugar90 gmbutter, softened2limes, finely grated rind and juice only1lemon, finely grated rind and juice only3eggs, separated120 gmself-raising flour750 ml (3 cups)milkTo serve:pure icing sugar and pouring cream
Preheat oven to 180C. Beat sugar, butter and citrus rinds with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then add egg yolks, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately in batches and beat well until a smooth batter forms. Add citrus juices and beat until just combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggwhites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form, fold one third of the eggwhites through batter to lighten, add remaining eggwhites and fold in until just combined. Divide mixture among six 1¼ cup-capacity (310 ml) buttered ovenproof dishes, place in a deep roasting pan and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up sides of dishes. Bake until puffed and golden (30-35 minutes). Dust generously with icing sugar and serve immediately with cream.
Whether you call it lemon delicious, lemon sponge, lemon surprise or lemon soufflé pudding, it seems everyone’s mother or grandmother has turned out one of these self-saucing beauties at one time or another. It’s one of those great stand-bys invaluable to the cook’s repertoire. There’s no need to shop for fancy ingredients as you’re more than likely to have most of what’s required to hand. At most, you may need to pick up a couple of lemons from the shops or, if you’re lucky, pull some from the tree in the backyard. Any other citrus can be paired with the lemon. Mandarin, orange and grapefruit all work well and, when in season, blood oranges make a gloriously perfumed version. Or do as we have and add a splash of lime juice. Whatever combination you choose, just make sure there’s a good whack of lemon in there; its intense sourness is what makes this dish the classic it is. Don’t feel you must have individual ramekins in order to make this pudding successfully, it works just as well cooked in a large baking dish. There’s a bit of magic with this childhood favourite. The simple batter, lightened with whisked eggwhites, transforms into two layers; the airy sponge layer hiding a tangy, almost curd-like sauce. The end result manages to be heart-warmingly comforting yet feather-light. Which means you can definitely go back for seconds. And that can only be a good thing. Delicious indeed.