Egg Custard–comfort food supreme

(Note: As usual, I posted too quickly; as a result, 24 hours after first publishing this post I’m doing some heavy edits on it, especially to the recipe and cooking times/levels. Trust me, it’s for the better!)

Before you ask…no, this has no zucchini in it.  I’m taking a break from the giant green baseball bats for a couple of days.

I’ve been working my way through a nasty stinky flu bug. One of those achy sweaty chills and fever room spins head wants to split open kind of deals.  It’s the pits.  (It’s mostly better now; sort of broke yesterday. But today I’m just wiped out exhausted.) And when I’m sick, I crave comfort food.  And above all the comfort foods I know is the nutmeg-sprinkled baked custard my mom used to make when I was sick. I never make it because it involves the oven and a waterbath and when I’m sick I don’t feel like messing around with that.  But then I put together a recipe for egg custard (as usual, cobbled together from a few other recipes), do-able in the microwave oven, and while it took a lot of futzing to make it actually work right, the end result is pretty darned close to what mom used to give me.

Recipe I: Microwave Baked Custard (makes just under 1 cup; thus, 1-2 servings depending on how much comfort you need) (doubles easily! Just keep track of egg multiplication–2 eggs means 1 cup of milk, 3 eggs is 1.5 cups, etc.)

  • heat 1/2 cup of milk  and 3-4 tsp sugar in the microwave for about one minute, till it is hot but not boiling, and the sugar dissolves easily. (This makes for a pretty sweet custard, which I happen to like. Honey or maple syrup would probably make a nice substitution.)
  • While it is heating, lightly beat 1 egg, and 1/2 tsp vanilla (or a splash of cream sherry–makes it taste like sabayon) (For a single serving, you can do this right in the coffee cup or bowl you plan to cook the custard in.)
  • When milk is hot, whisk it into egg mixture
  • If you haven’t already done so, pour into 1 or 2 custard cups or microwave-safe coffee cups.
  • Sprinkle nutmeg on top
  • Microwave on 30% power 3.5-4 minutes or until beginnng to set and no longer liquidy. (Note: the first time you try this you’ll need to supervise closely, and you’ll have to do it again if you later decide to try doubling or tripling the recipe. You want the whole thing to be gently puffing, but if the liquid in it comes to full boil the custard will start to curdle.  It’ll still taste nice, but it won’t have that velvety texture.) When you take it out of the oven, it should jiggle a little like set gelatin, but not be firmly set; and remember it’ll keep cooking for a few minutes after you take it out.
  • Chill at least half an hour before eating, if you like it warm, or a few hours for cold. (No way around this; it has to finish setting and cool down a little before you cut into it.)

Again, your first time making this, you’ll have to watch closely–everyone’s microwave is a little different, and it’s easy to overcook. Then you have, in effect, a custard-flavored scrambled egg. Still tastes nice, but not the effect we were going for.  And probably a lot of the dicier timing could be reduced by actually using a water bath in the microwave.  But I’m not going for exactly the perfect custard, I can make that in the oven–I’m looking for a quick and easy way to get my comfort food fix. And this isn’t bad.

UPDATE SEVERAL MONTHS LATER: in late April I posted a recipe for the chocolate version of this and in the process happened upon a slightly altered version of the vanilla, using powdered milk.  It’s much more stable than the version above and doesn’t overcook as easily, but with a slightly heavier consistency.  And not everyone has powdered milk around…but if you’re interested:

Recipe II: Microwave Egg Custard (single serving–doubles easily!)

  • heat 1/2 cup of milk in the microwave for about one minute, till it is hot but not boiling
  • In a small microwavable bowl, custard cup. or smallish coffee cup, mix 3 level tsp. sugar and one heaping tsp. powdered milk. Optional: add a few drops of vanilla extract and/or a shake of cinnamon, or a splash of creme sherry or liqueur
  • When milk is hot, pour just a little into the sugar/milk powder mix and stir to form a paste.
  • Break one egg into the sugar/milk powder paste; stir well until combined and egg white and yolks are well blended.
  • A little at a time, whisk remainder of hot milk into egg mixture, pausing often to combine. (This “tempers” the egg; it mixes without curdling or cooking.)
  • Microwave on low power (2-3) for about 3.5-4 minutes, depending on your microwave.  Your mixture should never actually come to a boil, but it should basically be “set” on top. (There may be a little puddle of liquidyness on top even if the rest is set; don’t worry about it.) (Note: the first time you try this you’ll need to supervise closely, and you’ll have to do it again if you later decide to try doubling or tripling the recipe. You want the whole thing to be gently puffing, but if the liquid in it comes to full boil the custard will start to curdle.  It’ll still taste nice, but it won’t have that velvety texture.) When you take it out of the oven, it should jiggle a little like set gelatin, but not be firmly set; and remember it’ll keep cooking for a few minutes after you take it out.
  • Chill at least half an hour before eating, if you like it warm, or a few hours for cold. (This version with powdered milk you can actually sort of skip this with, though giving it a little resting time is still good….)

Now if only I could figure out how to effect the “flan” thing with the caramel syrup in the bottom, I’d be in heaven…

–J

Advertisements

Posted on September 14, 2009, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I meant to post this under the zucchini files but forgot. There’s an old Maine joke that you have to start locking you car at night in the fall otherwise someone will break into it and leave zucchini on your front seat.

    We found four giant yellow squash abandoned on our deck in the middle of the night this week. But we will have our revenge, we have lots of rogue butternut squash sitting in piles around our yard. We just have to identify our mark…

  2. P.S. the egg custard sounds amazing. I may be making it for dinner tonight.

    • greenmomintheburbs

      It’s insane; I must need a lot of comfort these days or else just missed this custard, but I’ve been making it like twice a day since originally posting the recipe. I’m just going nuts with the stuff! I’ve tried variations too–honey instead of sugar is lovely, and I discovered that you can put a little liqueur (Frangelico, Amaretto, whatever) in place of the vanilla, reduce the sugar a little, and its AMAZING.

      We need more eggs.

  3. Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in
    Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get
    there! Thanks

  4. To carmelize sugar in microwave: for each cup/mug of flan: 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp water in 1 C pyrex measuring cup. Cook 1 min on high then 30 second intervals until bubbling and turning brown (each microwave varies so record time YOU need once you’ve tried this). WATCH CAREFULLY! If too brown, will taste bitter instead of the “just ALMOST burned” flavor of the BEST FLAN!!

  1. Pingback: Feeling all warm and fuzzy and local today « It's Not Easy Being Green

  2. Pingback: Afternoon of domesticity « It's Not Easy Being Green

  3. Pingback: Chocolate Egg Custard in the microwave « It's Not Easy Being Green

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: