Lemon Budino {gluten-free, dairy-free}

Lemons and Lemon Zest

The word “budino” was unknown to me until a couple of years ago when I visited a restaurant in Portland, Oregon and saw “Meyer Lemon Budino” on their dessert menu.  I ordered it out of curiosity (and love of lemon desserts) and was very happy to discover that it was a light custard with a fresh lemony tang; after the first bite, it was immediately added it to my mental list of required recipes.

A brief internet search revealed that budino is the Italian word for custard or pudding.  All the recipes I found were very similar, and included wheat flour and cow’s milk, so I experimented with different milks, flours and nuts, eventually coming up with the following.  In many of the recipes, the egg whites are beaten separately, and then gently folded in to the rest of the mixture at the end.  This results in an airier top on the custard; being impatient for my budino, I don’t usually bother with this extra step, but doing so will give you a more typical budino.

I may be biased, but I think this version made with almonds or cashews is the most flavourful and decadent.  If you need this to be low-oxalate, it can be made with all purpose einkorn or regular flour, which will lower the oxalate content considerably (instructions below); if you need it to be both low-oxalate and gluten-free, you could use 1-2 tablespoons of corn starch in place of the nuts.

Lemon Budino
(4 to 6 servings)

Ingredients:

3 large eggs
1/4 cup honey (or sweetener of choice)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup blanched almond flour (or unsalted, raw cashews)
3/4 cup full-fat coconut or almond milk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (juice of about 2 lemons)
zest of two lemons

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Set four to six heatproof bowls or ramekins into a large baking pan that is at least 2 inches deep.  Boil approximately two litres or quarts of water (to create a water bath for the custards) and set aside.

Combine eggs with honey and salt in a medium-sized bowl, and beat until thickened and almost doubled in volume, approximately 2-5 minutes.

For the silkiest custard texture, blend almond flour, or cashews, and coconut milk – either with a hand blender or regular blender, until the mixture is smooth without any obvious lumps or graininess.

Add nut milk mixture and lemon juice to the eggs and honey and beat again, and then stir in the lemon zest by hand.

Ladle the budino mixture evenly into the bowls, stirring with the ladle to blend as you go, so all the bowls will have the same mixture of ingredients, as the foamier part tends to float to the top.  Carefully pour the previously boiled hot water into the pan until it reaches about 1 inch up the sides of the bowls.

Place the pan into the hot oven.  Remove after 30 minutes, or sooner if you notice the tops of the budini starting to turn brown.  Carefully remove the bowls from the pan of hot water (I usually use a spatula and wear rubber gloves to help me lift them out of the pan), and set them on a dishtowel to cool.  Serve at room temperature.  Optionally, you can also top these with a daub of coconut whipped cream.

*If you would like to make this low oxalate, use coconut milk instead of almond milk.  You can use 1/4 cup of all-purpose einkorn or regular flour in place of the nuts (or 1-2 tbsp corn starch); 1/4 cup of einkorn flour has approximately 4.5mg of oxalates, whereas the same amount of almond flour has approximately 145mg.  While lemon juice is low, I couldn’t find any information about lemon zest, so if you’re concerned about that, you could leave it out.  All the other ingredients are low (eggs, honey, salt, lemon juice).

Printable Version:

Lemon Budino {gluten-free, dairy-free}

Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey, or sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup blanched almond flour, or unsalted, raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup full-fat coconut or almond milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (juice of about 2 lemons)
  • zest of two lemons

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Set four to six heatproof bowls or ramekins into a large baking pan that is at least 2 inches deep.  Boil approximately two litres or quarts of water (to create a water bath for the custards) and set aside.
  2. Combine eggs with honey and salt in a medium-sized bowl, and beat until thickened and almost doubled in volume, approximately 2-5 minutes.
  3. For the silkiest custard texture, blend almond flour, or cashews, and coconut milk - either with a hand blender or regular blender, until the mixture is smooth without any obvious lumps or graininess.
  4. Add nut milk mixture and lemon juice to eggs and honey and beat again, and then stir in the lemon zest by hand.

  5. Ladle the budino mixture evenly into the bowls, stirring with the ladle to blend as you go, so all the bowls will have the same mixture of ingredients, as the foamier part tends to float to the top. 

  6. Carefully pour the previously boiled hot water into the pan until it reaches about 1 inch up the sides of the bowls.

  7. Place the pan into the hot oven.  Remove after 30 minutes, or sooner if you notice the tops of the budini starting to turn brown.  Carefully remove the bowls from the pan of hot water (I usually use a spatula and wear rubber gloves to help me lift them out of the pan), and set them on a dishtowel to cool.  Serve at room temperature.  Optionally, you can also top these with a daub of coconut whipped cream.
  8. *If you would like to make this low oxalate, use coconut milk instead of almond milk.  You can use 1/4 cup of all-purpose einkorn or regular flour in place of the nuts (or 1-2 tbsp corn starch); 1/4 cup of einkorn flour has approximately 4.5mg of oxalates, whereas the same amount of almond flour has approximately 145mg.  While lemon juice is low, I couldn't find any information about lemon zest, so if you're concerned about that, you could leave it out.  All the other ingredients are low (eggs, honey, salt, lemon juice).

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