If You Always Do What You've Always Done...Then You'll Always Get What You Always Got

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Mum's Baked Custard

When I was growing up, if there was a glut of milk for some reason mum would make a baked custard.  (Excuse me while my tastebuds have a moment).  Recently, I signed up for milk delivery - but because I've had a cold I haven't been consuming as much milk as normal.  There is enough milk in my fridge that I wouldn't have to buy any until Monday, but tomorrow is delivery day.  Yes, I am able to change my order but I forgot to actually do this until after the cutoff time. 

On mum's last visit, she was looking for something and came across an old (I mean, really old) Good Weekend magazine.  On the front, she had written out her recipe for baked custard.  Could this have been found at a better time?  I think not. 

So, did you get all that?  Excellent.  (Oh, the cup with pills is part of the graphics of the cover, not an actual cup).

Dear Mum,

Thank you for passing on this recipe.  I hope it's ok if I share it with the whole internet.  You should be glad I have a smart phone complete with a converter app.  So when you said, 'preheat oven to 375F' I could just put that into the converter and discover it's 190C.  I boiled the kettle for the bain marie then realised I only had 2, not 3, eggs.  While I waited for confirmation from Abm that he had a spare egg for me to use, I checked cake books for recipes with only 2 eggs.  These are surprisingly scarce.  When he arrived, we chatted while I boiled the kettle (fully, this time), greased the casserole dish, and sorted out the best bowls to use. 

I separated the (thankfully) 3 eggs.  I admit, I neglected to add the pinch of salt to the whites before beating them.  Um, I also admit that after a while of beating them I decided the peaks were firm enough.  I also admit I was rather 'mum-like' in my measuring of '? 3 dessertspoons' caster sugar. 

Now, when you say 'gently heat 600mL milk with a teaspoon vanilla essence DO NOT BOIL' (well, I reordered the sentence so those not in the family who may read this can sort it out), how heated do you mean?  Do you mean lukewarm?  Almost boiling but not quite?  Over low heat?  Medium-low heat?  Medium heat?  I used medium-low heat and heated it a little past lukewarm before adding 3 dessertspoons sugar and then stirred until the sugar was dissolved.  While I was waiting for the milk to heat I whisked the egg yolks, and put the casserole dish in the lasagne dish (best dish for bain maries).  After the sugar had dissolved, I added the yolks to the milk and sugar and stirred a bit with a wooden spoon.  I was half hoping the whole mix would thicken and look more like custard than milk and egg, but I was disappointed.

I enlisted Abm's help in holding the sieve over the casserole dish so I could pour the egg and milk into the casserole dish through the sieve.  Good thing he was here.  Now, this whole 'gradually fold in egg white meringue so that most of it remains on top of milk/egg mix' bit.  Can you be more specific?  Am I to pour over the meringue and just let it sit?  Or mostly stir?  It seemed to sit on top anyway so I just tried to make it look pretty.  Of course I will add nutmeg if it's ever mentioned - who wouldn't?! :)  Water added for bain marie, and into the oven.  After 10 minutes (or should it really be 15?) I lowered the temperature to 175C, which is what my converter app told me 350F approximates.  After 20 minutes it looked all nicely browned so I took it out of the oven.  The meringue was nicely meringue-y but the custard was still quite wobbly so next time (yes, practice makes perfect) I'm guessing more mixing and possibly longer cook time...?

Anyway, I was very pleased to have made this recipe.  I think Abm is rather pleased as well.  And of course there are leftovers as well so dad might benefit also...  Obviously, I need more practice.  With merely eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg, it's relatively healthy, yes?  Excellent.  I hope to be able to make this for you in due course :)
Lots of love,
Anna xo

Today's photo:

Public holiday today in Brisbane, thankfully.  Spring was in the air, so I was inspired to do some gardening.  Before I got stuck into it, I appreciated the light and shadow on the tomato and aloe vera plants.  After taking this photo, I had to check my camera and what I was seeing - the top looks chopped off but it's just made that way, promise.

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