Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dessert Panic? Martha Stewart's Lemon Custard Cakes To The Rescue

Martha Stewart's Lemon Custard Cakes

You know this has happened to you: You've got dinner guests arriving in a few hours, and your plan for dessert, well, OK, you have no plan for dessert. What should you do? Call a friend? Make a run to the nearest supermarket? Get them drunk so that they forget about dessert?

No. Your solution is right before your eyes: Martha Stewart. Yes, Martha Stewart, the queen of complexity, does have a few gems to get you out of a jam. One of the best is  Lemon Custard Cakes. These easy-peasy, impossibly cheerful custard cakes can be whipped up before dinner is served, or even after your guests have arrived. (I know. I just did it last week.)

Like a souffle, these custard cakes rise like balloons. Fortunately, unlike a souffle, they hold their shape well after being removed from the oven, so they still look pretty an hour or two later. When you nudge your spoon into the ramekin, you'll discover a fluffy, cakey layer on top supported by a pudding-like custard on bottom. The sugar and whipped eggs whites balance the tart lemon making them refreshingly tangy.

The cakes taste best at room temperature or just slightly chilled. As for garnish, a light dusting of confectioner's sugar is all they need. Though if you want to channel Martha, you should top the cakes with a few fresh berries or a mint sprig. Just don't dip the mint in gold. That's overkill.

Martha Stewart's Lemon Custard Cakes

Here is the recipe for Martha Stewart's Lemon Custard Cakes. Unusual for me, I didn't do much tweaking to the original recipe. I merely coated the ramekins with cooking spray instead of butter, used Meyer lemons instead of regular lemons, and added more lemon zest, about 3-4 teaspoons. Otherwise, I followed it exactly. I only got 5 servings instead of 6, but that will vary depending on the size of the ramekins you use.

Jeff and I enjoyed them so much, that I also made an orange version with juicy California navel oranges. Whether you use lemons or oranges, these custard cakes taste like a light and breezy spring day, just what most of us need in cold and stormy March. 

You might also enjoy these easy and cheerful desserts:
Warm Citrus and Banana Cups
Seductive Strawberry Zabaglione
Mom's Chocolate Pudding with Bananas and Graham Crackers
Pumpkin Pie Pudding with Candied Pecans and Freshly Whipped Cream

You might also enjoy these lemon desserts: 
Lemon Sour Cream Pie recipe at Chaos in the Kitchen
Isa's Recipe for Vegan Lemon Bars recipe at Wasabimon!
Blueberry Tarts with Meyer Lemon Cream recipe at Dessert First
Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce recipe at Phoo-D