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    Chilled Lemon Surprise Pudding

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    Chilled Lemon Surprise Pudding

    This is wonderful served warm in the winter, but it also makes a brilliant summer pudding, served chilled with fresh strawberries or mangoes and cream. A quick thanks to Pat Malpass, a friend's mother, who showed me this way of serving it. If you've never come face to face with a lemon surprise pudding before, rush to make it, so that you can discover the surprise. Oh, okay then, I'll tempt you with the answer: the light layer of golden sponge on top masks a devastatingly lemony custard.

    • Preparation time: 15 minutes
    • Cooking time: 15 minutes
    • Total time: 30 minutes 30 minutes

    Serves: 6


    • 3 lemons
    • 100g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
    • 4 medium eggs, separated
    • 75g plain flour
    • 500ml milk
    • 200g vanilla sugar or caster sugar
    • To serve (optional)
    • 2 punnets strawberries, hulled and halved or 2 mangoes, peeled and thinly sliced
    • A little vanilla sugar or caster sugar
    • Lightly whipped cream


    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grate the rind from two of the lemons, then squeeze the juice of all three. Butter a 2-litre shallow ovenproof dish.
    2. Cream the butter with the sugar and lemon rind. Beat in the egg yolks one by one. Don't panic if the mixture curdles - it won't spoil the finished pudding.
    3. Beat in the flour, a spoonful at a time, adding dashes of milk and lemon juice between each spoonful of flour.
    4. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold them gently into the lemon batter.
    5. Pour the mixture into the dish, and stand the dish in a roasting tin. Pour boiling water around the outside of the dish to come halfway up the sides. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the pudding is golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
    6. Pile the fruit, if using, into a bowl and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Serve with the pudding and spoonfuls of cream.

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    Cook's tips

    If you have time use the fruit and cream to decorate the pudding. Pipe a lattice of whipped cream over the top and stud it with strawberries or mangoes.

    When time is too short to make a pudding, you can't fail with a beautiful mound of fresh berries - try the mixed packs of 'summer pudding' fruit - and a jug full of unwhipped double cream.


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