Grandma's Lemon Snow with Custard Sauce

November 12, 2009
5 Stars
  • Prep time 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

When my father was living on his own after college he wanted to learn how to cook. So my grandmother, an excellent home cook, gave him a spiral bound notebook in which she had written all of their favorite family recipes. It contained everything from her fancy plum pudding, famous "Meatballs for Choir Boys", to basic cube steaks, lamb stew, cranberry pie and, of course, her preserves. He makes all of these things to this day, and, thankfully, saved her notebook. This dessert was my father's favorite growing up and he made it a lot for us. These days I make it for my daughter. It is not fancy, but it is delicious and very fun to eat. It is like eating a big fluffy pile of lemon meringue. —Kelsey Banfield

Test Kitchen Notes

It's basically a lemon chiffon filling just eaten as a pudding with custard. Make sure to whisk the gelatin occasionally while it is chilling so it doesn't totally set around the edges. It takes about 30 minutes to get nice a thick gelatin that isn't quite set yet. It might be nice to do it little individual serving cups once you fold in the meringue.

Also worth adding a note that it will take about 2 hours for the gelatin to set completely. For the custard, you can do it her way, but it might be easier to do it the way you'd usually make anglaise with scalded milk tempered into the eggs to make sure they don't cook and then cooked on the stove just until thickened. —Stephanie Bourgeois

  • Lemon Snow
  • 1 tablespoon gelatin (unflavored)
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 speck salt (she means "pinch")
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (*see note re leftover lemon)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Custard Sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 "dash" salt (again, she means "pinch")
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
In This Recipe
  1. Combine gelatin and cold water in a bowl and soak for 5 minutes. The water will absorb the gelatin and get semi-solid. Then, add 1 c. boiling water and stir into gelatin until it's all dissolved.
  2. Next, add the pinch of salt, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir to mix, then put the bowl in the fridge to cool until it becomes thick - not solid. (You know it is thickened when the mixture "jiggles" when you shake it slightly.)
  3. In a separate bowl beat two egg whites and gradually add in sugar until there are stiff white peaks. Then, beat the thickened gel mixture until frothy. Working carefully, fold the gel mixture into the egg whites and put the mixture in the fridge to chill until firm.
  4. To make the custard sauce, set up a double-boiler with a heatproof bowl over boiling water. In it beat the eggs, sugar, salt and milk. Cook over the boiling water until custard becomes thick. (Note: my grandmother circled "Stir Constantly" to emphasize the importance of this).
  5. Once the custard is thick, remove the bowl from the heat and place it in a larger bowl filled with ice. Add in the vanilla and stir the custard to cool it down quickly. Place it in the fridge to cool completely.
  6. When both mixtures are cooled pile the lemon snow into a big bowl and drizzle it with the custard sauce. It should look like a big poof of airy-jello and taste like lemon meringue pie.
  7. Note: This dessert does contain raw eggs, so people should exercise caution as needed. I always use the freshest eggs possible when making this.
  8. Note: My grandmother always told me to save lemons that had been juiced and/or zested for stuffing roasted chicken!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Perry Doner
    Perry Doner
  • Brenda Hemstad-Rees
    Brenda Hemstad-Rees
  • Kelsey Banfield
    Kelsey Banfield
  • luvcookbooks
Home cook, food blogger, cookbook author, wine lover, avid traveler, and mother of two young children. Check out my books: The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food into Family Life (2012), and The Family Calendar Cookbook: From Birthdays to Bake Sales, Good Food to Carry You Through the Year (2015), Running Press.

10 Reviews

[email protected] December 25, 2020
Hi there, I continue every year to use this recipe as your post looks like the recipe card from my grandmother which seems to have gone missing after too many moves. In years past i would be making "snow pudding" for Christmas dinner while chatting on the phone with my mom and my auntie. The first time my now adult son tasted it all he said was bubbles. This year i am making my third pudding to deliver to my dad. I will also deliver one to my uncle who lost his wife in July and one to my ex husband. We are living in challenging times and it is these old recipe cards that make me happy. Thanks so much.
Perry D. December 24, 2020
This is an old family standard but when I make it, the gelatin often sinks to the bottom with the egg white mixture on top. The gelatin is so much heavier than the egg whites. Anyone with any tricks?
wwengren December 24, 2019
This is just like my Swedish great grandmothers recipe. I found this when I couldn’t find my copy. Chilling it for Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow. Can’t wait!
Lynn B. January 25, 2016
My mother made this all the time when I was little, but the sauce was pink, so I assume she put a little food coloring in. I clearly remember the yellow and pink dessert!! :)
David September 28, 2014
Now that's lemon snow pudding. There are some other recipes online for "snow pudding" but do not use gelatin. Thanks I love this stuff. Let it snow!!
Brenda H. April 16, 2014
My Mother has made this for years we were a family of 5 and it was one of our most favourite desserts. It is worth trying, enjoy!
Charlotte August 9, 2013
My mother has always reminisced fondly about her grandmothers lemon snow recipe and now thanks to your beautiful post I can recreate the memory for her! Thank you! Australian home cook
james C. July 14, 2013
This is a very old recipe. My late grandmother had a copy of a cookbook sold at the Philidephia Exposition of 1874, and she (or someone) had added this recipe by hand to one of the blank recipe pages. It was a very appropriate dessert after some of the heavy meals common in the Victorian era. It has been a favourite in my family for as long as there is memory.
Kelsey B. August 5, 2010
Hi! Thanks! Yes, it is an old-fashioned offbeat recipe, it's practically comfort food in this house. Enjoy!
luvcookbooks August 4, 2010
This sounds delicious! I used to make a similar recipe with a drained whipped heavy cream instead of gelatin-- it came from an Elizabeth David cookbook. Heavenly and offbeat.