I live in a part of California that is blessed with extremely mild weather almost year round. So all of this rain that’s been coming down the last two months is giving me a bit of cabin fever. Instead of focusing on all the things I can do indoors, such as cooking or baking or blogging, I’ve been daydreaming about beach days and picnics and coastal drives. I’ve been pining for Big Sur.
Big Sur is one of those places that just nestles itself into your heart. There’s something magical about being surrounded by all of that ocean and all of those trees. While I have the good fortune of living less than three hours north of Big Sur, I am now realizing that my last visit there was back in 2003. I was recently reminded of my love for Big Sur when I caught a documentary on PBS about the artist Emile Norman, who made Big Sur his home back in the 1940’s and remained there until his death in 2009.
I’ve more recently fallen in love the Big Sur Bakery Cookbook that has made its way into my hands. It is yet another reason for me to get myself back to Big Sur. The book is really an homage to the town of Big Sur and all of the artisans who have made it their home and is filled with beautiful photos and mouthwatering recipes. I love the layout of the cookbook; each chapter is designated a month of the year and lists the featured dishes like a restaurant menu. And what a coincidence it is that I was compelled to make the grapefruit pudding that is the dessert for February.
This grapefruit pudding is not your mother’s pudding. It is surprisingly light thanks to the egg whites and has that refreshing citrus quality. If custard and souffle had a baby, it would be this pudding. The top is airy and cake-like and the bottom is similar to a lemon curd. I like to think of it as having the best of two worlds in one lovely confection.
adapted from The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook
Nonstick cooking spray or vegetable oil
1/2 cup fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, strained (about 1 or 2 grapefruits)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole-milk yogurt
1/2 cup crème fraîche
grated zest of 2 grapefruits (finely chop zest if using a microplane)
4 eggs, separated
powdered sugar, for dusting
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350°F. Coat a 10-inch round baking dish lightly with non-stick spray or vegetable oil. Set aside.
Combine the sugar flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. In a separate bowl, whisk together grapefruit juice, yogurt, crème fraîche, zest, and the egg yolks. Pour the grapefruit mixture into the well and whisk to combine.
In an electric mixer fitted with the wire whisk attachment, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the grapefruit mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden and the pudding is set but still jiggles in the center, rotating once halfway through. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.
Greetings from Big Sur circa 2003.