This is a very light pudding and the texture almost feels like you are eating clouds. The 1-hour cooking time effectively cooks the egg whites but does not make the pudding dry. This is a perfect dessert to end a heavy meal.
Sometimes the pudding is cooked in a pan covered with caramel, but I prefer to grease the pan with butter and dust with sugar. Another variation of this pudding is the "Molotof" in which hot caramel is added to the egg whites while being whisked. I'll post about it sometime.
Pudim de Claras / Egg White Pudding
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup 5% cream
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons sugar
1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Prepare the pan by greasing it well and dusting with sugar all around. Discard any sugar that is not stuck to the greased surface of the pan. Make sure that you choose a pan that is about 3 or 4 times higher than the final pudding will be, as it will triple its size inside the oven, and then will shrinks back to its initial size. Set the pan aside.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a bowl and the yolks into the top of a double boiler pan. Add the half-cup of sugar to the whites and beat until you have the consistency of a firm meringue. Add the lemon juice and beat to mix well. Drop the meringue into the pan by tablespoonfuls, making sure that there are no gaps. Cover the pan with a greased lid (any lid larger than the pan will do) and put it on a pan of hot water in a 300ºF (150ºC) oven for about 1 hour to let the pudding cook well inside. Once one hour is passed, the pudding should have raised to about triple its size. Switch off the oven and open the door a little to cool down. Wait for about 10 minutes and then you can remove the pudding from the oven. As soon as you open the oven door, you will see the pudding starting to slowly deflate.
While the pudding cooks, prepare a custard by mixing well the egg yolks, cream, milk and cornstarch. Add sugar to taste (3 tablespoons). Cook in a double boiler until the custard thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla extract and cover the surface of the custard with clinging film to avoid drying the surface. Set aside to cool. Sieve the cooled custard into a sauce boat.
Unmold the pudding into the serving plate and cover with the custard. Chill before serving.