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City Palate Recipe: Almond Citrus Ricotta Cake

Desserts

Honeycomb Mould after Laurie Colwin and Jane Grigson

Nov/Dec 2009

Before Martha, British food writer Jane Grigson wrote the book Good Things, in which there is a recipe for a creamy lemon gel that separates itself into three layers: “... a cap of clear lemon jelly, then a thin band of opaque cream jelly shading off a honeycombed spongy base which makes a light crinkling noise as it’s eaten.” Laurie Colwin brought it to my attention in her More Home Cooking. It’s a true gelled dessert, one that doesn’t come artificially coloured and flavoured out of a box. Try it with Key limes or Meyer lemons for an almost tangerine-like mellow citrus flavour.

3 large eggs, separated

grated zest of 1 lemon

1 T. plain unflavoured gelatin

1/2 c. sugar

1/3 c. whipping cream

1-1/2 c. milk or half-and-half

juice of 2 lemons (about 6 tablespoons)

In the bowl of a double boiler, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon zest, gelatin, sugar and cream. Heat the milk or half-and-half in the microwave or a small saucepan until hot but not boiling, and whisk it slowly into the egg yolk mixture. Set the bowl over simmering water and cook the mixture, whisking, until it’s very hot and has the consistency of a custard sauce. Stir in the lemon juice.

In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks; fold them into the hot custard with a rubber spatula, and let the mixture sit for 4 minutes.

Divide it among 8 individual glass ramekins or martini glasses – so you can see the layers – or pour it into a 4 to 5 cup mould, cover and refrigerate overnight. To unmould the large mould, run a thin knife around the edge, dip the mould quickly into hot water and invert it onto a plate. Serves 8.