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
2 hours 30 minutes
speck salt (she means "pinch")
freshly grated lemon zest
freshly squeezed lemon juice (*see note re leftover lemon)
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.
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.)
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.
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).
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.
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.
Note: This dessert does contain raw eggs, so people should exercise caution as needed. I always use the freshest eggs possible when making this.
Note: My grandmother always told me to save lemons that had been juiced and/or zested for stuffing roasted chicken!
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.