Overrated Surprises and a Recipe for Lemon Surprise Pudding


Things that took me by surprise over the last few weeks: a piece of bark on the rug that I thought was a massive cockroach. A cat sneezing. Congress’s letter to Iran.

Things that did not take me by surprise ever, really: pudding.

It’s just not that shocking. It’s pudding, when all’s said and done.

When I was a kid, one of my friend’s mums used to make Lemon Surprise pudding. The surprise was, it was chocolate. That’s mildly surprising, granted, but not, say, compared to, to pick an example at random, a ghost.

Anyway, this lemon surprise pudding actually IS made with lemon. So it’s even less of a bolt from the blue, though feel free to think of it as “chocolate surprise pudding” if you’d like. (I do.)

So. Do you want to know what the actual surprise in lemon surprise pudding is? Underneath the cakey surface lurks a soft creamy sauce.

Yes. That feeling that you’re feeling right now might well be disappointment. Surprises are overrated.

But what it lacks in shock value, it makes up for in deliciousness. A sprightly, sunny pudding that’s the perfect end to a fresh spring dinner.

3 1/2 tablespoons of butter (room temperature)
1 cup sugar (ideally golden caster sugar, but regular caster sugar is fine too)
1 lemon zested, then juiced
extra lemon to make the juice up to 100mL (about 1/2 cup)
3 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 vanilla pod, or 1 tsp of vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Put the butter, sugar, and lemon zest in the mixer and blitz until creamy and combined.
  • Add the lemon juice, egg yolks, flour and vanilla seeds scraped from the pod (or vanilla) and mix. Add the milk and mix until smooth.
  • In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm, then fold into the lemon mixture.
  • Butter an oven dish. Tip in the mixture, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top is nicely browned and baked.
  • Serve with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, and a dollop of yogurt or cream.

In this column, Katherine Knowles divulges recipes you can make in your tiny New York City kitchen.


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