Chances are pretty good that you haven’t been thinking to yourself, “It sure is hot. I can’t wait to turn on the oven and bake some custard.” And you are right–baked custard isn’t typically a summer food. However, I would argue that during the dog-days of summer, you could probably use a little comfort food.
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I am very open to suggestion when it comes to what I cook. Yesterday, I was driving around listening to a call-in radio cooking show (as one does) in which the caller was complaining of his custard-making mishaps. As I was thinking to myself, “Come on, man. You need to use a water bath. What, were you raised by wolves?” the host told him to use a water bath. And I thought that perhaps it’s time to slow done and bake some custard. With a water bath, naturally.
I have the perfect recipe. It’s rich but not super sweet, and would be lovely served chilled with berries. It’s simple and the kind of thing your granny might have made for you. In fact, this recipe was my grandmother’s.
The dapper little fellow above is my dad, with his grandmother. Coincidentally, I am wearing the same outfit. It’s too hot for pants.
Anyway, back to custard. What our radio friend didn’t know, that custard-making grandmas everywhere probably know, is that cooking custard slowly at a low temperature is key. Sometimes slow is better. Have you heard of Norway’s slow TV movement? Imagine television programing showing a ferry sailing the coast for five days. Eight hours of a burning fire. A live, 7-hour train trip, from the trip’s perspective. Would you watch this? Norwegians love it. I don’t know, it sounds kind of soothing. Like custard in television form.
- 5 large eggs
- 4 cups milk, scalded
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- sprinkle of nutmeg
- Beat eggs slightly. Add sugar and salt and mix well. Add scalded milk gradually, stirring constantly. Add vanilla. Pour into 1½ quart casserole dish or ramekins. Place in a pan of warm water and bake at 300 degrees until custard is firm. The time depends on the depth of the custard. (Note: My ramekins took almost an hour.)