In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest. Add the milk, little by little, stirring constantly to break up any small lumps that form. When the mixture is completely combined, place over medium heat and continue stirring until everything dissolves and the cream looks smooth. It will begin to come easily away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat and pour into individual bowls or ramekins and chill, at least 1 hour, until firm. Garnish with almonds.
To toast almonds: Toss almonds into a dry hot pan and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar. Take off the heat and stir to caramelize.