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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thursday Recipe - Dairy-Free Citrus Pudding and Meringues

This recipe is based off the filling for lemon meringue pie out of my trusty old Betty Crocker cookbook. It makes a great dessert for this time of year. It's cold and nasty outside. We get horrible inversions that just make the air gunky and trigger all sorts of health problems. This pudding is a refreshing way to remember that spring will come and summer won't be far behind and then we'll be complaining about the heat. It's always something.

The meringues are to use up the egg whites, plus they add some texture to the dish and an extra touch of sweetness. Meringues can be a little tricky. If done right, they bake up light and fluffy with a nice crunchy exterior. The trick is to let them cool in the oven. Bake them last thing before you go to bed, turn off the oven and leave them inside to cool overnight. Once done, store in a loosely covered container. Don't seal them up or they'll go soft.

If you like tart, use the lesser amount of sugar. If you like it sweeter, add the higher amount of sugar.

Dairy-Free Citrus Pudding

1 to 1 1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. cornstarch
1 1/2 c. water
3 egg yolks, beaten smooth
3 T. butter
enough lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, etc to yield 1 1/2 c. juice (use just one kind or mix and match)

Mix sugar and cornstarch together in a medium saucepan. Stir in water. Whisk until smooth, then turn on the heat to medium high. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens and boils. Boil for one minute, stirring the whole time. Remove from the heat. Stir about 1/3 of the hot mixture into the egg yolks. Whisk it smooth. Stir the egg mixture back into the hot stuff in the pot. Bring back to a boil. Boil and stir for one minute.

Remove from heat. Stir in butter and citrus juice. Whisk until very smooth. Pour into serving bowl or dishes. Cover loosely and refrigerate until set, at least two hours.

Serve with meringues. Garnish with citrus peels, fresh lemon slices, chocolate curls for orange, or whatever you'd like.

Meringues (Pavlova)

3 egg whites
1/4 t. cream of tartar
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla

Heat oven to 225°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar, 1 T. at a time, beating really well after each addition. Add vanilla. Beat on high until stiff and glossy. This takes at least five minutes. Don't underbeat it. It looks like really stiff whipped cream.

Spoon onto the baking sheet. It should make about a dozen mounds. Bake for one hour. DO NOT REMOVE FROM THE OVEN. Turn the oven off and let them cool inside for at least an hour and a half. Remove the sheet from the oven and finish cooling on the counter. They should be very very lightly browned and may crack on the outside.

Store in a very loosely covered container.