Friends coming round. With kids. To see the chickens. We are not a child focused house so have no snacks, sweets, crisps or anything yummy. Quick look in the cupboard – eggs, jif lemon, the usual butter and flour. Quick look in recipe books. Miss Reeve comes up trumps!
So – Lemon Dainties here we go.
Here is the recipe page from Miss Reeve’s book:
And here is how to make them:
1. Assemble your ingredients – good. Nice and simple, easily obtainable and only a few!
You just need:
6oz granulated sugar (I didn’t have granulated so used caster sugar)
1 oz flour (I used plain flour as Miss Reeve tends to say if Self Raising)
1/2 oz butter (I never use salted butter)
2 eggs, separated (I used 3 as our hens’ eggs are quite small)
1 large lemon – zest plus juice (I didn’t have lemons but I did have the squeezy sort in a bottle)
1/3 pint milk (equiv 6 oz if you prefer to use scales – I used full fat as we had some left)
Order of making:
Switch on the oven to 180 (if fan) – see below for equivalents.
1. Put the flour, sugar and butter in a bowl. Miss Reeve says ‘combine’ it all. There is only a small amount of butter so I rubbed it all together between my fingers, lifting up as much as possible to get as much air as possible in as I suspected these dainties needed to be light and airy.
2. Add the yolk and the lemon.
3. To save washing up between the stirring the main mixture and the whisking of the egg whites (you all know of course that egg whites need to be whisked with completely clean implements…), whisk the egg whites first. Stiffly beaten (as Miss Reeve instructs) means to the level that when you lift the whisks up, the mixture stays in a peak and doesn’t pour off or even flop down slightly.
4. Then – using the same whisk (no need to wash this way round!) mix the flour, sugar and butter mixture with the yolk and lemon.
5. After that, fold in the stiffly beaten whites. Folding in means that you take a spoon and cut through the egg whites on top of the mixture from the top of the bowl (say 12 o’clock) to the bottom (say 6 o’clock) and scrape round the edge of the bowl or move the bowl round and then cut through again. What you want to achieve is a lot of air into the mix and you do that by gently slicing through the white in straight lines until it becomes nicely combined with the mixture – BUT not too much that it just becomes a huge mass of liquid again with no air in it.
6. Pour it into a dish and place it in a water bath. I didn’t line the dish or anything, just poured it into a baking dish and then put that dish into a larger dish full of cold water.
7. Miss Reeve says to bake for 35 mins at Regulo 4 or 360F. I have a fan oven so I had pre-heated that to 180. It did cook for 36 minutes until ‘the top should be a delicate brown’.
You can serve it cold or hot. I left it to cool and then cut it into small squares. I put it in the fridge to firm up as some of the pieces were ‘overly wobbly’! Very tasty. Very refreshing. And very light. A couple of pieces were a little heavier at the bottom than the top which could have been because I used too many yolks but after being in the fridge they seemed a bit lighter as if they had risen a bit more at the bottom.
All in all a pretty good dish to wizz up quickly if you are short of time, have only a few basic ingredients and are happy to take a punt on how delicate the brown should be!