Meyer Lemon Pudding

If you hadn’t already noticed, cooking is sometimes a bit of an experiment. Even when you think you know what you are doing, things don’t always turn out exactly as anticipated. Case in point, this meyer lemon pudding. Good flavor and thickness, I just couldn’t get over the fact that it had these tiny, tiny little lumps. AKA it wasn’t perfect. But here’s the thing; when you are making dessert for other people (or food of any kind for that matter) you are probably your own worst critic. You went to the effort to make something and people really aren’t as picky as you would think. They’re just happy that you’re feeding them. Unless of course Gael Greene or someone is at your table. Then I’d start to worry if I were you!
Mayer lemon pudding
Mayer lemon pudding

Meyer Lemon Pudding

(as far as I can tell the recipe came from Luscious Lemon Desserts by Lori Longbotham)

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 1/2 cups milk
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp. Meyer lemon zest
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter

Whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch and about 2-3 tbsp. of the milk. Meanwhile heat the remaining milk, sugar and lemon zest until it reaches a simmer. Gradually temper the egg mixture by pouring some of the hot milk into it while whisking constantly. Then add everything back to the pot and whisk constantly over medium heat until the pudding begins to bubble. Remove it from the heat, adding the butter and lemon juice. Strain through a fine mesh sieve before portioning into bowls/cups/the serving vessels of your choice. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving. It can keep for a couple of days so you can definitely make it in advance. Also, if you aren’t a fan of pudding skin, be sure to put plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding before you chill it. Enjoy!

And as I wrote all of this prior to actually tasting the pudding, I have a few extra notes to add. The texture turned out over-so-slightly curdled (due to the lemon juice/milk combo). I strained it too – twice even! So I went back and re-read the recipe as well as comments pertaining to it. Originally it says to cook the pudding until it coats the back of the spoon. But here’s the thing; when you add cornstarch you want it to boil. That’s the only way to achieve the full thickening power, not to mention cook out the starchy taste. This is what I did so I’m thinking that upon adding the lemon juice, the extra heat might have promoted the curdling. Or perhaps it was the fact that I used 2% milk instead of whole milk. Either way, there are definitely some technique flaws in the original version. It made me especially frustrated to read comments like “the pudding was too thin” or “it tasted like raw cornstarch”. If you don’t know that you have to boil it and you are just going along with the recipe, how are you supposed to know any better? Anyways, moral of the story, I think I like lemon pudding better when it is made with water. The lemon flavor is more prominent and you don’t have to worry about little lumps (and I mean really minuscule – they weren’t necessarily off-putting it just wasn’t perfect) of curdled milk in your dessert.

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