I woke up this morning at 7:30 and peered through the curtain at this:
More snow, on top of the 20-whatever inches we got on Tuesday/Wednesday this week. And the first thing I thought of making was this:
Snow Pudding! My mom used to make this when I was growing up and we thought it was magical! A bowl of pure white, light-as-air, fluffy, sweet, lemon-tinged delight with a blanket of cheery yellow creme anglaise. It is an uplifting homage to winter and I found my mom’s recipe today and am here to share it with you! It’s kind of hard to describe – the pudding itself is unflavored gelatin, sugar, lemon zest and egg whites whipped to a winter-white frenzy in Chuck, my sturdy and reliable KitchenAid mixer, and then refrigerated until the texture becomes light and fluffy. It’s not meringue. And it’s not gelatin, per se, either. It’s snow pudding! BEWARE: this dish does contain uncooked egg whites, so if you’re skittish about that, well – your loss, if you ask me! Ready? OK, let’s get crackin’!
SNOW PUDDING INGREDIENTS
3/4 C white sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (such as Knox brand)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 C fresh lemon juice (juice of one lemon)
2 egg whites
WHAT YOU DO
1) In a small saucepan, combine sugar, gelatin powder and salt. Add 1/2 C cold water. Stir over low heat until gelatin and sugar are dissolved, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
2) Get your microplane or whatever and get 1 tsp of lemon zest, like this:
Add your lemon zest, lemon juice and 3/4 C water to the sugar-gelatin-salt mixture. It’s gonna look something like this (not appetizing yet, but just wait):
2) Stick the pan into the fridge for about an hour; you want the gelatin to set a bit – but nowhere near entirely. While you’re waiting you can make your creme anglaise (see below).
3) When your lemon-gelatin mixture is a little thick – but not set like Jello – remove from fridge. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the whole lot into the metal bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. You can also use an electric hand mixer if you want – but know you’re gonna have to mix for 8-10 minutes. Add your 2 egg whites. Start the mixer on slow, and gradually rev it up to full power (or one notch below; I alternated between the 2 speeds) and let ‘er rip for 8-10 minutes. It’s gonna start getting white and frothy and when it begins to hold it’s own shape, like this — you’re done:
4) Gently transfer to a large bowl, like this, and refrigerate for at least one hour. As far as I know it’ll keep quite well for up to 24 hours (covered with Saran wrap).
And now for the Creme Anglaise!
CREME ANGLAISE INGREDIENTS
2 C half-and-half (You can substitute whole milk, but I used half-and-half)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 C white sugar
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
WHAT YOU DO
1) Alright, this is the first time I’ve made this and I followed a recipe by Grace Parisi from Food & Wine. It came out great, but you do need a shitload of bowls, and a fine-mesh strainer. First you want to rig up your chilling-straining apparatus, like this:
On the bottom: a large bowl of ice water. Next: a glass bowl into which you’ll strain your hot creme anglaise and Last: the strainer. OK, onward!
2) In a large saucepan, add the half-and-half and vanilla seeds (which you gently scrape with the edge of a knife, directly into the pan). Cook this over low heat for 5 minutes, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges, like this:
3) While the dairy-vanilla mixture is cooking, get another bowl and whisk your egg yolks and sugar just until they’re combined.
4) OK, when your vanilla-dairy stuff is ready, take it off the heat and very slowly pour half of it into the sugar-egg mixture, pouring it in a thin stream and whisking constantly like this:
5) Alrighty, when you’ve got half the dairy-vanilla stuff into the egg-sugar stuff, take your pan back to the stove, over medium heat and add the egg-sugar-dairy mixture you just whisked up to the pan. The whole point of Steps 4 and 5 is to temper the eggs, so they don’t curdle and seize up into some whacked-out scrambled-eggy mess. And it works! Now, set a timer for 4 or 5 minutes and stir this lot constantly with a wooden spoon until it starts to thicken a bit. I recommend 4.5 minutes. Do not over-cook it!
6) Immediately pour the creme anglaise through the strainer, into your bowl set over the ice-water bowl, to stop the cooking. Add more ice if you have to – you really want this stuff to chill down fairly quickly. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and stay put when you swipe a finger through it, like this:
Also, it should TASTE DELICIOUS! Refrain from eating more than one spoonful, if you can (man, it’s good).
7) Now you want to chill it for at least an hour, and to do that, get some Saran wrap and set it on top of the creme anglaise, right on the surface, so that a skin doesn’t form, like this:
And you’re done! Serve the snow pudding in individual bowls, or on plates and top with creme anglaise. Smile at winter and have another bite.