Lemon Sponge Dessert

This was a favorite growing up and comes complete with that "magic of food science" vibe.

1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
1/3 c. lemon juice (2 lemons worth)
1-1/2 cups (10.5 oz) sugar, white
1/4 cup (1.5 oz) flour, all-purpose
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 egg whites
2 egg yolks

Preheat oven to 325F. Place a folded dish towel in the bottom of a roasting pan. 

Whisk 3/4 cup of sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Mix milk, vanilla, lemon zest and egg yolks together and then add to flour mixture and stir to combine. Beat egg whites until very soft peaks form, then, with the mixer running, slowly add the sugar. Beat until egg whites are stiff and glossy. Add about 1 cup of whites to the batter and stir to combine. Fold in remaining whites until the clumps are all gone.

Pour batter into an 8-inch round glass or ceramic baking dish.  Place baking dish in the roasting pan (on top of the towel). Add enough cold water to come 1/3 of the way up the baking dish.

Bake for 60-75 minutes, until the pudding layer is about 175F. Transfer baking dish to a wire rack and allow to cool. Serve slightly warm, on its own or with a fruit compote.