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New Paths to Old Puddings: Lemon Honeycomb

I came across this tantalizing English pudding recipe ages ago whilst perusing The Kitchn, and immediately put it on my to-do list… where it promptly langished for nearly a year.

Embarassing, since I actually own a copy of Jane Grigson‘s “Good Things”, in which the recipe first appeared, as well as a shame, really, since anything with such an august pedigree is bound to be good.

Moreover it involves lemon and gelatin, two of Mr. T’s absolute favorite things. I’d like to think that my tendency to be slightly sneer-y when it comes to Jell-O type things did not contribute to the lag time, but it probably did.

Although, having made it, I can say with complete confidence that no one could think for a second that this deliciously lemony whimsy came from a packet.

It does, however, bear more than a passing resemblance to the Jell-O 1-2-3 desserts of my childhood. Well, not MY childhood, but you get the idea. A thin layer of tart lemony jelly is topped by a foamy, chiffon-y, lemon mousse that crackles pleasantly in the mouth–a perfect textural compliment to its sprightly tartness.

And, since this is do-ahead and pretties up well in individual glasses, it’s a perfect ending to any big holiday meal–bright in flavor, light in texture, but still indulgently festive.

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Passive Aggressive Pudding: Fiore di Sicilia Tapioca

I do not like tapioca pudding. I find its flavor irredeemably bland and its gluey, pebbly texture too akin to frog spawn to be remotely palatable. That said, Mr. T happens to love it. *sigh* My first rendition used almond milk instead of dairy milk–so, you know, I could have some–and was quickly dismissed as not the real thing. *double sigh* Thusly chastened, I decided this weekend to mount another expedition to conquer the tapioca. With milk this time. Not really having a background in tapioca, I turned to the always helpful 101 Cookbooks, whose family heirloom recipe seemed pretty straightforward. And then I started fiddling. *triple sigh*

Of course, my disposition towards the whole production was not helped when I realized the recipe called for extra-large eggs. There’s approximately a .25g difference between a large egg and an extra large one, but on the first attempt, I blew this off and just used two large eggs. Seriously, though, can’t the ISO or someone force people (Ina Garten, I’m looking at you) to accept large eggs as the standard for baking? (Though, really, this is just another example of Rose being correct; I suppose I really should weigh everything all the time.) Update: ACTUALLY, the recipe calls for extra large egg YOLKS, so that’s where I effed everything up. Shoot me now.

In any event, carrying on with my now-doomed to failure second tapioca adventure, I sucked up the egg issue and moved on. I had also decided that just vanilla was too… vanilla. I am always in pursuit of bigger flavor, which I’m sure vexes Mr. T’s delicate palate at times, but since I was making the friggin’ pudding, I wanted it to be INTERESTING.

After toying with various spicing options, I elected to go with fiore di Sicilia, a lovely Italian combination of vanilla and citrus. Not having any on hand, I elected to stir in a few tablespoons of Korean honey citron tea (it’s kind of a loose jam than get mixed into hot water). The flavor is distinctly different from the oranges, lemons, and limes we’re used to in the West, with a deep, almost primordial citrus tang I find most exciting. I assumed that since it was mostly sugar, the tea wouldn’t cause any curdling issues…

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