Sunday, January 10, 2010

Put the Lime in the Coconut

Although I'm not really all that into desserts, I've been pretty much designated the dessert person in my book club. I could bring a chocolate tart every time and there would be no complaints. (Well, maybe from my wife.) But I try to mix it up some and bring different types of desserts.

Tonight's effort is a variation on a lemon pudding cake I like. I normally cook it in one larger vessel, but for tonight I thought I'd try individual ramekins. While I don't generally test recipes out on guests, this is for the book club, and they'll pretty much eat anything I put before them ;-). I sampled one and found it a little drier than my usual recipe. Whether this is because of baking it in individual ramekins or the use of coconut milk, I don't know. I do prefer a moister, more pudding-like cake.

Coconut Lemon-Lime Pudding Cake

1 stalk lemongrass, lower half only, outer leaves removed
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 can of coconut milk, Chaokoh brand is what I prefer
3 TBS butter, softened
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
7 TBS lemon juice
zest of one lemon, finely grated
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350º.

Steep the lemon grass and two of the kaffir lime leaves in the coconut milk in a pan over low heat for half an hour. Strain and cool the coconut milk.

Mix flour and sugar together.

Microwave the other kaffir limes for about 40 seconds to 1 minute, until crisp. Crush in mortar or spice grinder to make a fine powder. Stir into the flour mixture.

Whisk the yolks and butter together until smooth. Add in the cooled coconut milk, lemon juice, and zest. Stir the flour mixture into the coconut milk mixture.

Whip the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form. Fold them into cake batter.

Pour the batter into individual ramekins or a 1 quart baking dish. Place into a roasting pan that can accommodate them and create a bain marie by adding boiling water until it reaches half way up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake for 25--30 minutes. With tongs, remove the ramekins from the bain marie and allow to cool on racks. May be served warm, room temperature, or cold.

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