Monday, March 14, 2011

Meyer Lemon Sponge Pudding for St. Patrick's Day

When newly wed, I moved from the east coast to the west coast.  Our first home was a brand new two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in La Jolla, CA.  Our only furnishings were a green card table with two folding chairs for dining and a mattress on the floor of one bedroom.  The chairs were also for reading or dragging out onto the balcony.  Boxes in the closet accommodated what clothes that didn't hang.  Wedding china, crystal and silver remained boxed and in another closet.  We had a service for four of Melmac (I think that's what it was called) that bounced around in the dishwasher.  There was an olive green G.E. hand mixer, our only appliance since the coffee pot was a Corning stove top percolator--the kind one had to time for seven minutes once the perking started.  I should mention the mixer matched the olive green shag carpeting!!  My only cookbooks were the Foods of the World series from Time Life.  They were in pristine condition having never been used.

One day, Andrew came home toting two grocery bags filled to the brim with lemons.  I thought lemons came, one or two, from the grocery store and were sliced to go into sweetened iced tea (don't forget, I'm from the south).  Back in D.C., I had once done a baked lemon chicken dish that called for a cup of lemon juice which caused me to have to return to the store after underestimating just how much juice one lemon held.  I ended up with too much lemon juice and "created" a lemony potato dish to accompany.  Needless to say, it was a very sour dinner.  

 I had no idea what to do with that many lemons.  I went to the library and checked out a few cook books (no internet back then).  I learned to make a simple syrup for lemonade.  Once I got it made, I had nothing to put it in.  When Andrew mentioned my plight to the nurse at the hospital who had given him the lemons, she sent him home the next day with a half dozen jars in which to store "things".  

Those long ago lemons were different colors--some pale yellow and some an orangish yellow.  It wasn't until years later that I realized the orangish ones were Meyer lemons.  I did recall that they tasted a little less tart than the standard yellow lemon and their skin was thinner.  I've come to know that they are also a bit less acidic.  I'm thinking about planting one in a pot that can be brought in for the winter.

I also learned that when life gives you Meyer lemons, you should make....

Meyer Lemon Irish Sponge Pudding recipe from a smudged 3 x 5 index card 

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 Tbsp grated lemon peel
3 eggs, separated
3 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup milk

1.  Lightly butter a 1 1/2 quart casserole-type dish and preheat the oven to 350.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar, add the lemon peel.
3.  Beat in the three egg yolks well.
4.  Stir in the three Tbsp of flour alternating with the lemon juice and milk.
5.  Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter.  Spoon into the prepared dish.
6.  Place the dish in a pan deep enough to hold it and allow for a hot water bath of about an inch.
7.  Bake until set, about 1 hour.
8.  Serve immediately or chilled.