Monday, 9 July 2012

Lemon Fluff


When it comes to food flavourings, I think lemon sucks. Maybe my nose has been victimized by too much furniture polish, dishwashing detergent, floor cleaner and scented plastic dolls over the years, but I just don’t find anything appealing about it.

So I was less than enthusiastic about making Lemon Fluff. It sounded boring. But then I started making it and, as the cold, evaporated milk foamed up, I had a memory trigger. I'd eaten this before. And then I realized – I frigging love Lemon Fluff!

Although it doesn’t sound like much, Lemon Fluff is three inches of light, moussey and yes lemony heaven. It’s perfect for summer eating and guaranteed to shine a light in the dimmest of church basements. Lemon, thou art redeemed.

1 package lemon JELL-O powder
1 ½ cups boiling water
4 tablespoons lemon juice
Rind of 1 lemon
¼ cup sugar
1 can Carnation evaporated milk (real cold)
¼ cup sugar
1 cup graham crumbs
A little butter

Mix together ¼ cup sugar, the graham crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of an 8"x8” pan, saving a few crumbs for top. Mix JELL-O powder and boiling water. Cool slightly. Add the lemon juice, rind and ¼ cup sugar. Cool in refrigerator until syrupy. Beat can of Carnation milk. Beat again and add the JELL-O mixture. Combine beating until stiff. Pour over crumb crust and sprinkle with reserved crumbs.

Source: Cooking with Durham County Junior Farmers

28 comments:

  1. Oooohhh ... this looks super fancy! In my house, Lemon Fluff consisted solely of Shiriff lemon pie filling in a bowl.

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    1. Jane, you mean to tell me you put pie filling in a bowl and gave it a name? Like it wasn't just pie filling in a bowl?
      I think you just set a new caker standard.

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    2. Yes, indeed! It was my dad's *favourite* dessert. As for the caker standard, I am humbled, but that honour is deserved solely by my mother. Who, by the way, to this very day makes cottage cheese/jello/pineapple "salad" completely without irony and a staunch belief that it's healthy. Some day I'll raid her cookbook collection and pass along some pure cirlox bound GOLD to you!

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    3. For the record, your mother is right. Cottage cheese/JELL-O/pineapple salads are healthy. In fact, they're packed with vitamins. Those vitamins are just buried very, very, very deeply.

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  2. Can you please explain the whole lemon rind process? It says the rind off one lemon. I cut the skin off the lemon, cut it into little pieces, but it was a whole lemon so there was a lot of skin, and stuck it in. Now I seem to be spitting out pieces of raw lemon skin like sunflower seeds with every bite.
    Also it hasn't really set yet, will wait over night and see.
    I said I would bring this in to work tomorrow for someone's bday. Maybe I should have tried it first....
    Oh and also I didn't have a square 8 inch pan, I only had a pie pan 8 inch, so I used that and it only took half my lemon mixture, so now I have two. I think something went wrong...

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    1. Lemon rind means just the very outer yellow layer of the peel, or the 'zest'. You can buy a zester, which is a little tool where the peeler bit looks like brass knuckles, and you use it to scrape off very fine, thin layers of the peel which tend to curl and can look quite fancy. What you're going for when you zest is the oil that is in just the coloured, waxy part of the peel, so if you don't have a zester, or if, like me, you love citrus but hate having any waxy bits in your mouth, take a small paring knife and use it like a razor to scrape the peel (do this while the fruit is still whole) and you'll get a wet paste of zest on the edge of the knife - scrape that into whatever is calling for zest or rind and you'll get great flavour without bits of rind getting stuck in your teeth.

      The difference between an 8 inch square cake pan and an 8 inch round pie pan is considerable with regard to volume, side height and bottom area, all of which are important to the proportions of this recipe and most recipes. If you're not an experienced baker, always use the size and shape pan indicated in the recipe, and if you don't have the right pan and don't want to invest in a good pan right now (never buy crap pans) you can buy foil bake ware cheap and use a flat cookie sheet to support it in the oven or in the fridge. Another benefit of foil is that it works really well if you're going to be transporting your baked item, as you don't have to worry about a precious pan getting damaged or not returned or having to clean and schlep it home from work. You can even (and should) rinse used foil bake ware and toss it in with the recycling.

      And yes, never promise something you've never made before. :)

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  3. I got it to set but I still need help with the lemon rind process.
    I froze the bowl and the mixers, then beat the milk like making whipped cream, until Hell wouldn't have it any more. Then I beat the Jello for good measure. Then I mixed them together and beat again until my hand fell off. It set.

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    1. Oh, dear. You mean to tell me you chopped up the lemon rind and put it in the fluff? Let's just say that wouldn't get you invited back to the next church luncheon.

      What you need to do is grate the lemon rind. You can buy a zester, but I just use the side of the grater with the smallest holes. As far as the pan, you really do need a deep dish. Lemon Fluff gets mighty high. You could always use a 9x13 if you have that. But I woudln't recommend a pie dish as it's too shallow. I hope the birthday went well, but if you had chunks of lemon rind in your dish, I can only imagine people were making pucker faces!

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    2. I always refer to lemon pudding as "lemon fluff." That's what they called in at my high school cafeteria. It just stuck for me.

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  4. At first I thought this was the fluffy, lemony cheesecake that Woolworth's used to serve. Alas, it's not, though it sounds reasonably yummy in its own right.

    So, I guess evaporated milk really does whip if you beat it long enough, eh? I have avoided recipes that call for whipping evap because I never believed it would really happen. Thank you for straightening me out.

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    1. Good lord, I miss Woolworth's. There wasn't a finer lunch counter anywhere.
      I didn't know what to expect when making this, but that cold, evaporated milk got mighty foamy. I was surprised as I'd never done it before. Who knew?

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    2. I would give anything for a Woolworth's patty melt. But I won't get started, because Woolworth's makes me very nostalgic, and well, you know how I get...

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    3. OMG, I LOVED Woolworth's! And I love this recipe. I wish I had a reason to make a dessert.

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  5. Any thoughts on whether this can be made diet-y with sugar-free jello and fat-free evaporated milk? Godzilaw is counting calories so she can fit into her stretchy-pants.

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    1. Godzilaw, I thought the whole point of stretchy pants was that you didn't you have count your calories.
      The low-cal question is a good one. I did a little web-surfing and it looks like you CAN whip fat-free evaporated milk. Just make sure the beaters, bowl and milk are cold. It won't hold up as long, though. But, given that you're adding in the gelatin, you should be OK. If anyone out there tries a low-fat version of this, let me know!

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  6. This sounds like the perfect dessert for my book club meeting! Thanks!!

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    1. Kathy, I can't guarantee that everyone in the book club will like the book you'll be discussing, but I can pretty much guarantee they'll love the fluff.

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  7. I just made this. I wanted to use sugar free and the store did not have lemon. So I mixed lime and orange. It came out kind of brown, but tastes great!

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  8. PS I used fat free milk and no crust.

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    1. Well, Anonymous, I tip my caker hat to you for taking Lemon Fluff to the next level. You managed to make it fat-free, sugar-free and brown. I wouldn't recommend changing the name, though. Yelling "WHO'S UP FOR SOME BROWN FLUFF???" won't get anyone racing to the dining room table. Thanks for sharing, though!

      Godzilaw, hope you caught this.

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  9. Next I am going to try potato chip cookies with BBQ chips.

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  10. I finally made lemon fluff last night! Quite successful, and the kids loved it (I didn't even tell them it was low-fat and sugar free). I already feel slimmer! Now where are my stretchy pants ...

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    1. Thanks for the update, Godzilaw! And happy to hear a low-fat version worked out.

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  11. well, I just beat the living jesus out of the milk/jello mix and never got it fluffier than soft peaks. it sits in my fridge, hopefully setting up a little. otherwise, spoons and bowls it will be. what did I do wrong?? plus, it increased in volume so much, (but didn't firm up enough)that i could have filled a 9x13 pan!! if it doesn't set, I will be sad. I will eat it, but it's not the same.

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    1. Hi Siobhan. Did it turn out? I seem to remember that it was pretty fluffy with soft peaks. Then, once it set, it firms up. Let me know if you can. The one thing to keep in mind is that the evaporated milk has to be really cold. If not, I don't think you'd get the same volume.

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  12. Brian, what size can of milk and what size box of Jell-o? I think my husband would love this, it sounds like the lemon filling and meringue of lemon meringue pie all in one. Caker food sure can be good sometimes :D I read your whole blog and got all kinds of laughs, several grimaces, and bookmarked a couple of recipes to try :D

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    1. Hi Cheese with Noodles. Great name! Hmm. I think I only found one size of evaporated milk at the grocery store. From what I remember, it was the size of a soup can. Bigger than a can of sweetened condensed milk, in any case. For the JELL-O, I think it was the 85 gram box. If you try any recipes, let me know how they turn out.

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