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Lemon Delicious is pure magic

Julie Falsetti
  • Lemon Delicious is the humble cousin to Pavlova, a meringue-based cake.
  • Lemon Delicious is cooked in a bain marie, the fancy term for a hot water bath.

As American as apple pie; as Australian as _______.

It would be hard for most Americans to fill in the blank. Different cuisines have made their way to the United States, but most have been helped along by the immigrants who brought them here. Is there a town in America that doesn’t have at least one Chinese restaurant and a sushi bar?

Most people who are born in Australia tend to stay there and keep their culinary gems within their borders. This is a shame, because Australia has some iconic desserts that deserve to be exported.

One of the most famous is Pavlova, a meringue-based cake with a crisp exterior and soft filling inside. A more humble cousin is Lemon Delicious, a classic in Australian homes because it is easy to make and uses ingredients most people have on hand. The trickiest part of the preparation is separating eggs.

Lemon Delicious is a magical pudding cake. When it bakes, the batter separates into a creamy lemon pudding nested beneath a golden sponge topping. If you are a fan of lemons, this dessert lives up to its name. Even if you are not normally a big dessert eater, you might like Lemon Delicious as it is not cloyingly sweet.

Before you begin, have all of the ingredients at room temperature. Lemon Delicious is cooked in a bain marie, the fancy term for a hot water bath, so you will need a pan large enough to hold the baking dish.

Lemon Delicious

4 large eggs, separated

Finely grated zest of one lemon

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

11/2 cups whole milk

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray with Pam for Baking an 8-inch square or round baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and butter. In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. Mix half the flour mixture into the egg yolks, then half the milk. Mix in the remaining flour mixture and remaining milk.

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, and then gently fold them into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared dish. Place the dish in a baking pan large enough to hold the dish, and carefully pour very hot water into the large baking pan until it comes about halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until the cake is set, about 45 minutes. Let cool and serve with whipped cream.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section.