Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Custards!

Yes, eggs are an awesome staple to start your day. But say you're looking for something a little more fancy-pants. Indulgent, without being indulgent, you know what I mean? Enter the custard. I love making custard as a night-before project that has my breakfast ready-to-eat, no cooking, the next morning!

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

First, find a large rectangular pan and fill it with about an inch of water. This is the classic "water bath" method that is used in cheesecake recipes to enable an even baking throughout the custard.

Next, place some smallish Pyrex dishes (or other ramekin-type dishes) in the water bath. No need for them all to be the same size. You can see here that I used three small ones, a medium one, and three clean baby food jars. Why the baby food jars, you ask? I'm experimenting with them as a way to send custard with my three-year-old to preschool in the fall, when I'll be packing her lunch three days each week. (They turned out perfectly baked in these jars, by the way! I poured the excess off the full ones into the big Pyrex dish so that there would be about 1/2 inch to expand during the baking.)

OK. So you have your water bath pan, filled with your little custard dishes. Get yourself a nice, easy, primal custard recipe. You can experiment with it after you're used to the process. I like the Son of Grok banana "Caveman Custard" recipe. In my head, I call it "1-2-3 custard" because it requires one can of coconut milk, two bananas, and three eggs (along with a dash of cinnamon). Whip up your custard batter, and pour it into your ramekins. (I did nearly-full baby food jars, and about 1/2 inch deep in the larger dishes.)



Stick it in the oven and bake for 45 minutes at 350. Take them out of the oven, but don't remove them from the water bath. The more gradual the cooling process, the prettier your custards - that is, the less likely they are to crack on top. Once the water bath is completely cool, put the custards in the fridge to cool and set some more overnight.

Oh, and remember the part about experimenting? Now that you've done your basic custard recipe, shake things up.

Add a drizzle of walnut oil to the custard batter for some added fat, and a deliciously nutty taste. (Just don't do it all the time, though, since walnut oil is omega-6 heavy. Maybe make the custard with Omega-3 eggs to offset?)

Mmmmm, walnut oil in a pretty tin.

Other variations: You can soft cook some rhubarb and very ripe cherries (must be ripe to offset the rhubarb's tart), and then temper your eggs with them before adding the eggs and a stick of butter. (No coconut milk this time.) This results in a very Yoplait Whips! type texture.

While you're experimenting, add nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, etc. to your liking as well.

Oh, and let's talk toppings. In the morning, I top my chilled custards.

See my humble banana custard? (And yes, even with gradual cooling, there's a little crack. So sue me. This is another good reason to talk toppings - because they hide cracks!)

Add some fresh blueberries, a small handful of cacao nibs, and a few walnuts. Now we're talking indulgent breakfasts.

 

14 comments:

  1. this is great! thank you! im making them tonight for our whole family's breakfast tomorrow- husband, me, three year old and one year old. perfect for us all. ill do the blueberries and walnuts on top. perfect for a snowy morning in.
    -amanda (akd from paleohacks)

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  2. So glad that you liked this! :o) Love it when paleohacks folks I know stop by and comment.

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  3. These custards sound fantastic! I love eggs, but there are only so many omelettes a girl can eat before she wants something new! I think my toddler would love these too.

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  4. I made these last week and they're DELICIOUS! My son goes back to school soon and I've been looking for a quicky, yummy, healthy breakfast ideas. These will definitely be added to the rotation.

    One question, though, about the variation. You said to "temper" the rhubarb/cherry mixture with the eggs, then add the eggs & butter. Do you actually mean to temper them with the bananas? Or do you leave out the bananas entirely? And what does "temper" mean, lol?

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  5. Kay - so glad that you enjoyed them!
    Re: tempering, I meant to add a bit of the warmed cherry/rhubarb mixture to the beaten eggs, and keep beating vigorously, and then add the whole thing to the rest of the warm cherry/rhubarb mixture. This ensures that the egg doesn't cook upon contact with a warm fruit mix and instead is thoroughly integrated, so that the custard bakes evenly throughout. Hope that helps!

    Check this out, as well: http://www.ehow.com/how_4731920_temper-an-egg.html

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  6. Maryanne - how did it turn out? Did you ever get a chance to try them? :)

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  7. I know this is a little old, but hopefully you will see this -- where do you get your cacao nibs most cost-effectively?

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  8. Hi, Carmen,

    Try the Navitas Naturals ones on Amazon. They sell them in 8 oz. packs and 2 x 16 oz. packs. Picking the Subscribe and Save option will save you the most money.

    Cheers!

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  9. Anybody looking for the original Son of Grok recipe won't be able to find it - Son of Grok's website has retired. However, someone did copy it over here.

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  10. Wow!!! Super delicious !! Can't wait to try....

    Thanks for sharing. :-)

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  11. Love that you use coconut milk so its dairy free for my daughter. Totally trying this tonight!

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  12. Where's the recipe?

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  13. Seriously...where's the recipe?

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    Replies
    1. Please see the link above in this same comment thread.

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