My neighbors have had the flu, earaches, colds — and the winter’s not quite half over. It seems that everyone I meet is sneezing, coughing, or sniffling.
I remember when I was a small girl, my mother would make a special dish for us when we weren’t feeling well—it was creamy and warm, soothing on scratchy throats, tasty and easy on upset stomachs. Served on a special tray with a cup of tea, Baked Custard often appeared to be the turning point between not feeling so hot and beginning to get better.
I turned to my old Betty Crocker Cookbook for the basic recipe.
2 cups milk, scalded
½ teaspoon vanilla
The first thing to do is scald the milk. Pour the two cups of milk into a pan with a heavy bottom (so it will heat evenly) and, on medium heat, stirring often, bring the milk almost to a boil. (You will see bubbles appear on the sides of the pan and steam rising from the milk.
You can watch a video HERE on how and why to scald milk. Set the pan of milk aside to cool.
Next, fill a pan with about an inch of water and set it in the oven to warm while the oven preheats to 350.
Lightly beat the eggs, sugar and salt. When the milk has cooled to about 100 degrees (I used a thermometer for this), stir it into the egg mixture and add the vanilla. Pour this into custard cups or a 1-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg.
Carefully remove the pan of heated water from the oven. Set the filled cups (or baking dish) into the pan of water. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted about an inch from the edge comes out clean. Immediately remove from the oven. The center of the custard should still be soft and “jiggly”—it will firm up as it stands. The custard can be served warm or chilled—in the dessert cups or unmolded onto a plate.
A little bit more about baked custard:
· Stirring the milk in while it is still warm helps the sugar dissolve.
· You can pass the mixture through a strainer after mixing if you want to remove egg pieces that may
not have been stirred in completely.
· Using brown sugar instead of white makes a lovely, dark golden custard.
· Maple flavoring can be substituted for vanilla, and cinnamon can be used instead of nutmeg. My
mom used nutmeg, so that’s what I use!
· Don’t skip the hot water bath. It helps insulate the custard as it cooks – contributing to the smooth
· It uses ingredients most households have on hand…saving a trip to the store. This makes a lot of
difference on blustery days or if the cook is the one not feeling so well!
Baked Custard is Comfort Food that is welcome in our household at any time –but particularly when cold and flu symptoms are taking away an appetite. Farm fresh eggs and milk for protein, a bit of sweetener for some energy—maybe you won’t want to tell your family just how good it is for them!