This has to be one of my favourite desserts – light, sweet and creamy with just the right balance of lemon or lime sharpness. It’s blissfully easy to make and an excellent make-ahead option. Very importantly, as I have a number of friends and family with gluten or lactose intolerance, it contains no gluten (unlike e.g. a traditional lemon tart, cheesecake or a key lime pie) and can be made with lactose-free cream if required. A little seasonal fruit added to the citrus custard makes a lovely addition to the overall flavour and texture. This recipe will make six individual servings in large ramekins, at least eight or nine in smaller dishes. As it will be oven-baked, the dishes must be heat-proof. You can caramelise the top by dusting the top with some icing sugar and popping it under the grill but, having tried both options, I prefer it plain.
- 6 large individual ramekin dishes
- Finely grated zest and juice of 3 medium unwaxed lemons or 4 limes.
- 4 eggs
- 300ml double cream
- 150g golden caster sugar
- Optional: 300g soft fruit – raspberries, cherries, apricots, peaches, blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 150°C.
- If using, divide the fruit equally between the 6 ramekins.
- In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest with a balloon whisk. Stir in the cream.
- Put the ramekins in a deep roasting dish and then pour an equal amount of the lemon cream into each one.
- Boil a kettle of water and make a bain-marie by half filling the roasting dish. Make sure you place the roasting dish near the oven so that it’s easy to put it into the oven on the middle shelf without spilling the hot water.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes minutes.
- This will ensure that the custard is set and the surface won’t crack.
- Carefully remove the roasting tray from the oven and lift the ramekins out of the hot water so that they don’t cook any further.
- Allow to cool and then refrigerate – they are best served chilled. Finish them simply with a light dusting of icing sugar or, alternatively, decorate them with a little grated citrus zest or some more of the fresh fruit. Serve with almond tuile or shortbread biscuits.
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