Friday, 27 September 2013

Lime Sponge Pudding

It's been a while since I walked around my mother's garden. If summer was all about survival for the garden and the plants, the rains have been about revival and rejuvenation. All the plants are looking healthy, vibrant and according to Ma, "in desperate need of pruning!!". Except for the hibiscus, the flowers will come later on, in our tropical winter. Right now, it's her fruit trees (there's pomegranate, guavas, chikoo, amla) that are blooming!!
And right beside them, I noticed a lime tree. More of a shrub and less of a tree, as of now. But, it had quite a few limes hanging about that just called out to me. To have access to such fresh produce and ignore it, would be sheer idiocy.

Work with fresh produce and you should be ready for surprises. Not for them is the uniform blandness of supermarket produce. And true to form, these limes did not disappoint. I cut one open and blinked...and then blinked some more!! The inside of the lime was not light green as expected but orange!! To say that I was flummoxed would be an understatement. When in doubt, turn to Google, who very competently informed me that these were Kassia limes. Whatever they are, my kitchen was smelling all things citrusy!!

These limes are from Ma's garden and so, it is natural that she gets to decide what I make with them. Without a moment's hesitation, she declared that I make a self-saucing sponge pudding. She had fond memories of it from her days when she was newly married. A school friend of hers, who had also moved to Bombay post-marriage, used to make this pudding as her signature dessert. Ma promptly fell in love with it and promised herself that she would try and recreate it. But, life got in the way, until her daughter became a food blogger and decided to give it a go.

For the recipe, I turned to the ever reliable 'Joy of Baking'. I have used limes but feel free to use lemons or even, oranges. The final product results in two layers. The top layer is a tender, sponge layer that gives way to this delightfully, tangy lime sauce. And since it is baked in a water bath, the sponge layer has a texture of a steamed pudding.

One bite of this dessert and you know who is the star. This is not a dessert if you don't enjoy all things citrus. It will refresh, tingle and awaken your taste buds as only limes and lemons can. The zesty sauce at the bottom is what makes this dessert special. Ma gave it her stamp of approval and I can't recommend it enough to all the citrus-lovers out there!!

Warm and straight out of the oven, it will remind you of gentle sunshine on a spring morning. Chilled in the refrigerator (and that's how I personally prefer it), it will remind you of sunshine on a cold, wintry morning. Either way, it will bring a spring in your step!!

Lime Sponge Pudding

Minimally adapted from this recipe from 'Joy of Baking' 

Makes 2 servings of 1-cup ramekins/4 servings of 1/2-cup ramekins.
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, room temperature (extra for greasing the ramekins)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • Pre-heat the oven to 165 deg C. Butter the ramekins.
  • Set aside 1 tablespoon of sugar (to use when whipping the egg white). In a bowl, beat the remaining sugar and butter, until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg yolk and beat until well incorporated.
  • Beat in the vanilla extract and lime zest.
  • Add the flour and salt and beat until combined.
  • With the mixer on a low speed, add the lime juice and milk. Once incorporated, set aside while you whip the egg white.
  • In a clean bowl, beat the egg white until frothy and soft peaks form. Gradually add the one tablespoon of sugar kept aside and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold in the egg white, in 3 additions, mixing only until incorporated.
  • Evenly distribute the mixture between the prepared ramekins. (The mixture does not rise.. so you can fill it up to the rim). Place them in a larger baking dish. Then pour hot water in the larger baking dish so that the water comes up to half way to the sides of the ramekins.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes. It is advisable to start checking at about the 30-minute mark. The mixture will separate into two layers. The upper layer will bake into a golden brown sponge, with a tangy, lime sauce at the bottom.
  • The puddings are ready when a toothpick inserted in the sponge layer comes out clean. Don't insert the toothpick right to the bottom as that will have the lime sauce.
  • Remove the ramekins from the oven and remove them from the water bath immediately to stop them from baking further.
  • Let them cool to room temperature before serving. Even better, you can serve them cold too (Chill them in the refrigerator, covered).
  • Tip: We bake them in a water bath to ensure that they are moist and tender. Else, they will turn out tough and rubbery.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Dina!! It was refreshingly zesty!!

  2. youi are such a great baker - those cake/puddings look soo good in individual ramekins and I love all things citrus. I hope your Ma enjoyed the dessert!!

    1. You are being extremely kind with your words Archana!! But this dessert is much easier than you think.. especially if you love citrus... the surprise is that tangy sauce that you get right at the bottom.. its the best!!

  3. Haven't tried anything like this. Looks so good, a cross between a cake and pudding. Lovely.

    1. My first time too, Asha, at a self-saucing pudding... and yes, its a cross between a cake and a pudding.. and that's what makes it so special. I also want to try a chocolate self-saucing pudding.. imagine how good that will be!!?!

  4. I know how delicious this pudding is , I made it in summer for my husband's birthday with berry sauce. Yours look amazing with fresh lime juice from home garden.

    1. With berry sauce!! how good would that have been!! yup.. mum's garden is really special!!

  5. Whoa, what a recipe! And the pictures are amazing too. Where do you buy your 'unsalted butter'? Any specific brand(s)?

    1. Thank you!! :)) When it comes to unsalted butter, I make some freshly churned butter every time I want to bake. I assume you live in India, the cream or 'malai' that forms on the milk is collected, then when there is enough of it, I beat it until the water releases and I'm left with fresh, unsalted butter. Else, my sister uses Nutralite and it works well for her!! Hope this helps!!

      PS-- please do leave a name... it helps to have a name to converse with!!


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