lemon pudding • learning from mistakes


I must really really love lemons.

I will say that I truly enjoy the act of zesting lemons more than I enjoy doing many things. More than I enjoy watching T.V.; more than I enjoy working out; more than I enjoy reading.

It’s kind of sad…or kind of glorious. Depending how you look at it.

To allow that citrusy aroma to take over everything and to get all up in my nose…It just gets to me. I simply like it. Period.

Plus if you scroll down to the previous post, the main ingredient and component of the dessert was–yep, lemon.

Please allow me to blab about that for a second or two. Yes, I made a lemon pastry cream yesterday and I didn’t really view the dessert as a success. The actual pastry cream was properly made and tasted delicious. It had the right consistency, the right taste, and it looked exactly how pastry cream should look like. I didn’t scramble the yolks, so that’s a plus!

The dessert was good, but good is simply not good enough. Pastry cream is very rich by nature and so using so much of it like I did in that dessert, was a bit much. The dessert was overly rich and custardy. It’s all subjective, I guess. If you absolutely love pastry cream and dream of bathing in it, then you’ll love it. Also, since the consistency of the pastry cream is thick, the cookies didn’t absorb enough moisture and therefore didn’t become that tender.

But that was then. This is now…


So I have now learned from experience that pastry cream is delicious, but it’s more delicious when it is used in small amounts (ie: filling of éclairs, profiteroles, tarts, etc.) and possibly as a side character rather than a protagonist and main component of a dessert. Less is more kind of thing.

I should’ve known that. I’m pretty sure I did. I just wasn’t thinking…I should’ve taken all of that into account. But I didn’t. Ooops. Experiments are experiments and sometimes the outcome won’t always play out the way we had hoped for. Bummer.

But luckily we learn from mistakes…Sometimes.

So after giving it some thought I rethought and rewrote the recipe (I can be quite hardheaded and persistent and won’t let it go until it’s improved).  I said “Screw you pastry cream, I’m going for a traditional good ol’ pudding”. I love this new recipe! I added a few things to the dessert and it all works in sync. I basically just got rid of the yolks of the pastry cream and BOOM–pudding was created! It has a very smooth and light consistency and the taste of lemon is very present and refreshing. Plus the addition of the lemon syrup makes the cookies be super tender! Love, love, love this revised recipe as I hope you do too!


**Yield: 3-4 small servings; Store in fridge for 2 days**


1 C water

1/2 C sugar

3 T lemon juice

half lemon

2 C milk

1/2 vanilla bean

1/2 C sugar

1/4 tsp salt

2.5 T cornstarch

2 tsp lemon zest

2.5 T lemon juice

about 12-16 galletas maria or other thin cookies that are typically used in puddings

ground cinnamon for finish


1. Make lemon light syrup: combine 1/2 C sugar and water in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat until all sugar dissolves. Add 3 T of lemon juice and half a lemon to light syrup. Cover pot with lid and infuse for a minimum of 30 minutes. Set aside.

2. Pour milk and vanilla bean into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let the bean steep for 15 minutes (saucepan should be covered during steeping time). Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into milk. Discard pod.

3. Bring the milk to a quick simmer once again. This should happen quickly, since the milk should already be relatively warm/hot after steeping the vanilla bean.

4. Meanwhile, combine sugar and salt into a bowl. Sift cornstarch over the bowl and whisk ingredients together. Add mixture to the simmered milk, a little at a time, stirring to dissolve.

5. Cook over low-medium heat and continue to cook while stirring until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.

6. Add lemon zest and lemon juice to pudding and stir to combine.

7. Remove halved lemon from light syrup and pour a little bit of light syrup into a shallow and wide baking pan. Place four cookies into pan and soak in syrup for about 30 seconds, until cookies become a bit tender, but not overly soggy. Pour more syrup into pan/dish whenever necessary.

8. Assemble dessert by placing a cookie at the bottom of a small bowl (the bowl I used was about 2.5″ – 3″ in diameter and 1.5″ in height). As you place and layer cookies into serving bowl, remove them from lemon syrup carefully with a fork. This process should be done quickly so that the cookies don’t become overly soggy and break apart. Spread about a tablespoon of lemon pudding over each cookie and place another cookie over the lemon pudding.

Repeat procedure until about 4 cookies are used. The amount of cookies being used will depend on how may are needed to fill up your specific serving bowl. Spread lemon pudding evenly over the top of the last cookie and sprinkle cinnamon over the pudding. Chill before serving.


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