This Danish Lemon Pudding is called Citronfromage and is traditionally served at Easter. I was first exposed to it by my friend Janna, whose mother’s family hails from Denmark. When I was growing up I always envied (and I suppose I still do) their specific cultural food traditions. At Christmastime it’s roasted duck and red cabbage, at Easter always new potatoes in a white parsley gravy, and of course, citronfromage. I recall Janna, back when we were about 14, spending the weekend visiting my mom and wanting, despite it not being Easter, to make us citronfromage — so much so that she called home to her mom (or maybe one of her aunts) for the recipe.
The “original” recipe, in Janna’s elementary-school-teacher-perfect printing, is somewhere, handwritten into one of my mom’s cook books. I know it calls for gelatin, which I didn’t happen to have on hand this time, so I strayed from the recipe but the method is very much the same: gently cook egg, sugar, juice and rind of lemons until thickened, allow to cool and fold in stiff egg whites to lighten it. Simple and delicious.
Citronfromage is beautiful and oh so zingy! Just enough sweetness, just enough sour. A bit like Janna herself!
Citronfromage (wannabe version)
4 egg yoks
2 egg whites
3/4 of a cup of sugar
juice of 2 lemons (1/4 cup)
rind of 3 lemons
4 tablespoons of butter
Whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Once the sugar is dissolved and no longer gritty, add the lemon juice and zest. Cook, whisking regularly for about 8-10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and leaves a heavy coating on the back of a spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, stirring to incorporate it.
Leave the curd to cool to room temperature. Once it’s cool, beat the egg whites until stiff and glossy and fold into the curd. Some streaks of white are acceptable if it means you don’t over mix and deflate it. If you want to get serious and traditional, spread it into a wide, shallow serving dish and chill until firm. Then cover with a layer of barely sweetened whipped cream.
Or just spoon it into a bowl like we did … because we couldn’t wait.