Buttermilk Lemon Pudding Cake
By Charlie Burke

Last Sunday evening we met our son,
Michael and his friend, Alicia, for
dinner at
Rendezvous in Cambridge,
Massachusetts.

Those familiar with the Boston restaurant scene will remember the Blue Room,
run by Chef Steve Johnson and known for its consistently high quality creative
food.

After a couple years’ absence, Johnson opened Rendezvous, which has a
European feel in its ambiance and menu, and in his return he has not missed a
beat. Perfectly fresh ingredients are skillfully presented in sophisticated sauces
which, while richly flavored, complement rather than dominate the dishes
which are accompanied by outstanding and fairly priced wines. If you are
traveling to Boston, you will be rewarded by a trip across the river to Steve
Johnson’s outstanding restaurant.

After enjoying a great meal (my pan roasted skate was perfect), we ordered each
of the four deserts offered that day, and after considerable debate, decided the
buttermilk lemon pudding cake was the best of the remarkable offerings. Like
the rest of the menu, it was an honest presentation of clean harmonious flavors.
A search through books, magazines and the Internet led to choosing ideas from
several variations which, along with our addition of lime juice and lemon zest,
resulted in this recipe. I always add more lemon than recipes suggest, and I
suspect the pastry chef at the restaurant has the same approach. Joanne’s first
effort came remarkably close to Sunday night’s version, and the light citrus
flavor is a great way to end any meal.

The restaurant served it with ”
huckleberry sauce”, but we heated blackberry
jam with a little rum for our sauce. In season, serve it with mixed fresh berries.

Preheat oven to 355 degrees.

1 ½ cups buttermilk
Juice and zest of one lemon
1/3 cup lime juice, preferably from key limes
4 egg yolks
¼ cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar – divided
½ stick butter (softened)
Pinch of salt
3 egg whites

For sauce:
1 cup jam or preserves, such as raspberry or blueberry
1 tablespoon dark rum

Butter an 8 X 8 X 2 inch metal baking pan. In a bowl, whisk together the
buttermilk, egg yolks, lemon juice and zest, lime juice, salt, sugar, butter and
flour until smooth.

In an electric mixer beat eggs until soft peak stage; continue beating while
gradually adding sugar until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold the liquid mixture
into the egg whites in stages. Pour batter into the baking pan, and place pan into
a larger baking pan. Add hot tap water to larger pan to a level half way up sides
of cake pan.

Bake for 45 – 50 minutes in the middle of the preheated oven. The top will
brown, and the cake should be springy and move slightly when done.

Remove cake pan from water bath and cool on a rack, then refrigerate until well
chilled.

To serve, bring fruit preserves and rum to a boil, spoon cake onto plates and
pour fruit sauce around the edge of the plates. This desert can be made a day
ahead, making it ideal for entertaining, and its easy preparation means it is
suitable for family meals, as well.

About the author: Charlie Burke, an organic farmer and avid cook, is the vice president
of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the NH Farm to
Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along
with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather
Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.
Buttermilk Lemon Pudding Cake
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