Lemon desserts are always a popular choice in my home. Chocolate is delicious, of course, but the bright flavor of lemon always seems to be a bit lighter – and that means that I sometimes find it easier to make room for a lemon dessert than a chocolate one. These Baked Lemon Custards are an excellent dessert option for lemon-lovers and much less time consuming to make than lemon meringue pies and tarts are.
The custards start with a base that looks like it would make an excellent lemon ice cream, with plenty of fresh lemon juice, eggs and heavy cream. You need to use heavy cream in this recipe for the best results, as lower fat milks may curdle when they are added to the mixture with all that lemon juice. The high fat content of the heavy cream – as well as the presence of sugar and eggs – keeps the custard mixture from breaking. The mixture is poured into 6 small ramekins. You can use shallow creme brulee-style dishes or deeper ramekins, as long as they are all filled equally, and then baked.
I recommend baking the custards in a water bath to ensure that you get the best results and that your custard is as smooth as possible all the way through. That being said, I’ve made these custards without a water bath when I’m feeling lazy and the resulting custards are still tasty, just not quite as silky smooth. Once you know the risks, feel free to take the easier option – though I do suggest sticking to the water bath if you can! The custards can be eaten as soon as they have cooled down, but they are best once they have chilled in the fridge for a few hours. Serve them with a dollop of whipped cream or a few fresh berries.
Baked Lemon Custards
3/4 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks and eggs until smooth. Whisk in lemon juice, followed by the heavy cream, vanilla extract and salt. Strain into a large measuring cup.
Divide mixture evenly into six 4 oz ramekins. Place dishes in a 9×13-inch pan and place in preheated oven. Fill pan with hot water until it reaches 2/3 of the way up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 25 minutes or until set. Allow custards to cool in the water bath, then refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours.