I had a houseguest on Wednesday night, so I made Chocolate Kahlua Volcanoes, which are basically whipped egg whites and chocolate and cream. (The recipe is in my Farmstead Egg Cookbook.) That left me with 4 egg yolks and half a carton of heavy cream, which I certainly didn’t want to go to waste. So I made a classic custard. It’s very easy. It’s egg season. You can do it, too.
Preheat the oven to 300º F. I like to make this in a ceramic serving dish or individual ramekins. They’ll be baked in a water bath, so find a metal pan that the baking dish can fit in. Pour in a half-inch of water and put the metal pan in the oven to preheat while you make the custard.
Measure 3 cups of milk, or a combination of milk and cream, or lowfat milk, or lowfat milk and cream – whatever you have. Heat it in a small saucepan until just about to boil. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of good, natural vanilla (expensive and worth every penny.)
Meanwhile, in a heat-proof bowl, whisk 4 egg yolks, two eggs and 1 cup of sugar. Don’t whisk so vigorously that you get masses of air bubbles, but do whisk until smooth and the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the hot milk, starting with a tiny bit so that the eggs don’t curdle. Add slowly and whisk until all is smooth. Pour through a sieve and into the ceramic baking dish. The sieve is essential for a smooth texture!
Carefully set the baking dish in the hot water bath. The water bath will insure that the custard bakes slowly, evenly and stays moist. Bake for about 50 minutes or until set. It’s delicious just like that, and it’s hard to resist warm, out of the oven, but even better if you have patience and a blow torch.
Let the custard cool, and then chill in the refrigerator. Just before serving, dust the surface with a fine, even layer of white sugar (not brown or natural, as those are too high in moisture.) Turn on your blow torch and sweep the flame across the sugar until it bubbles and forms a crusty layer of sweetness.
Enjoy! And then thank the hens for those amazing orange egg yolks.