Lemon Sponge Cups

The last chapter in our Downton premiere menu is fittingly ... dessert.

Just to recap the PREMIERE episode meal, we started off with some gougeres as an appetizer then cut ourselves a slice of sausage and kale dinner tart. And because the dinner tart called for white wine, we also drank some white wine. Our dessert is a lemon sponge cup ... which sounds perhaps a bit boring... but it's rather quite great. You end up with this crazy delicate and soft sponge cake on top ... and a sweet custard on the bottom. I hesitate to even write the word "custard" because this now means I can never make this for my mom.

When I was looking for some dessert ideas, I came across a few things that I thought would be good. Then, I saw this recipe for lemon sponge cups and I was convinced. I was really drawn to how simple this whole dessert was from ingredients to preparation. I can almost guarantee that you already have everything in your kitchen right now. In fact, you probably have everything for the entire Downton meal in your fridge... except maybe the sausage or the kale.

Plus! I finally got to use my Le Creuset ramekins that I got for Christmas last year (that'd be 2012). I'd been holding off on using them because I thought they might be a bit small for dessert ... but they absolutely aren't. They are the optimal size.

Here's how it goes.

(Step 1) Preheat oven to 350.
(Step 2) In a large bowl, cream butter. Add sugar, flour salt, lemon juice and rind.

(Step 3) In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks; stir in milk. Slowly add second mixture to first mixture. (Step 4) Beat egg whites until stiff; gently fold into mixture. Pour into ramekins or individual souffle dishes and place in pan of hot water.

(Step 5) Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. The end result is a layer of sponge cake on the top with the custard on the bottom. I used the cake top as a gauge of whether or not it was done. Since I was only baking 2 (as opposed to 6 for the full recipe) mine only took about 25 minutes.

Shopping List (servings for 6 and based on this recipe)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1 lemon, grated rind and juice
1 1/2 cup milk
3 eggs, separated
1 pinch salt

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