What if I couldn’t buy lemons at the store? Where would I get that wonderful lemony flavoring from? The answer is Lemon Balm. It has an amazing citrus-like smell – the trick is to get the same citrus taste to come out in cooking. This Lemon Balm Pudding is flavorful and lemony. There’s only the slightest hint that the source of the flavor isn’t fruit; its an herb.
I had a few unsuccessful attempts last year at cooking with lemon balm. Nothing came out very flavorful. But for this dessert, I wanted lots of lemony flavor. At the same time, I wanted to avoid turning the pudding green. So I simmered the milk separately, and then allowed the lemon balm to steep in the milk for about fourty minutes. That let the milk soak up all the flavor, and then I was able to strain the lemon balm out.
When the pudding was done, the lemon flavor was pronounced. The next day, it was amazing. Success!
Lemony Lemon Balm Pudding
A very flavorful lemony pudding, without lemons. The secret ingredient? Lemon Balm.
Pour milk into a medium sauce pan, and slowly bring to a simmer. Once the milk is just starting to get frothy, take it off the heat. Add the lemon balm, and stir.
Allow the lemon balm to steep in the milk for about 40 minutes.
While the milk mixture is cooling off, combine the sugar and flour.
Strain the lemon balm out of the milk. Whisk together the milk and sugar and flour in a medium saucepan. Cook the milk-flour mixture on low heat.
Add the egg yolks and salt, and allow the pudding to cook. Keep an eye on the pan, stirring occasionally, to keep the pudding from burning. The pudding will start to thicken, stirring more frequently as it gets thicker.
Once the mixture is of about pudding consistency, take it off the heat. Pour it into serving dishes, and let it cool before serving.
Top with fruit (if desired) before serving.
Lemony Lemon Balm Pudding is great the first day, but it is even more flavorful after it has had a chance to cool in the refrigerator over night. It also perfectly compliments seasonal fruit, like strawberries and mulberries.
In my pie making adventures, I’ve tried quite a few recipes whose results were questionable (Shoofly Pie with blackstrap molasses; do not do this!) or which mysteriously morphed into something else. Such it was that I started with the notion of making chess pie and ended up with this Almond Custard Pie.
I’m not entirely sure how one thing led to another anymore, but this is a delicious almondy confection. I’m not entirely sure it counts as a pie, as the almond crust has the interesting habit of rising to the top of the pie instead of remaining on the bottom as crust.
Almond Custard Pie
A delicious almond custard which may or may not be a pie. . .
Chop your almonds up in a food processor. Once they are finely chopped, add the butter and almond extract and continue processing until well mixed. If the butter starts out soft, then the almonds should start clumping together in a loose dough.
Press your almond dough into the bottom of a pie plate, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
While your crust is cooking, cream together your butter and sugar until smooth.
Add in the eggs, flour, whey, almond extract, and nutmeg. Mix well.
Pour the filling into your pie plate, and bake for an additional 60 minutes.
On the whey - the first time I made this recipe, I had really thick whey from one of my cheese-making experiments.. It was a bit like soft yogurt. You can also use buttermilk, OR 1 cup of whey/milk with 1/2 cup of yogurt.
On the pie crust - 1 cup of almonds only makes enough to cover the bottom of the pie plate. I like limited crust, but if you want it to go up the sides as well, double the crust recipe.
Peel and chop up your sweet potato. Put it in a saucepan with a bit of water and cook until tender.
If you processed your own pumpkin and were keeping it frozen like I do, you probably want to defrost it now. Better yet, throw the frozen chunks in with the sweet potatos and kill two birds with one stone.
Once your sweet potato is soft, mash it up and combine it with the pumpkin puree.
Add sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir well.
Beat your egg(s) and add to the mixture, along with your milk. If your sweet potato / pumpkin mix is still warm enough, you can chop up the 1/4 cup of butter and melt it in with everything. If not, then melt the butter in the microwave, then add it to the mixture.
Add the rum! Mix everything together well.
Pour your mixture into 1-2 casserole dishes. I use varying amounts of sweet potato and pumpkin, so it often exceeds one 8x8 dish.