Monday, April 26, 2010

Vanilla Cream Custard

It is spring. Spring means cream.

I did not know why cream comes in the spring and summer until way way too late. A fresh abundance of green grasses gives cows what they need to get the sweet, fat-rich milk that signifies spring. Ah, I wish I had such an obstacle right now: farm-fresh milk to use, plan ahead for, and enjoy.

See the smudge there at the top left in the jar...
that is some renegade cream I couldn't scoop out or mix tastes yummy.

I'll have to settle with my store-bought but beautiful jars of milk. I have been getting the raw stuff more often (but the pictures are of pasteurized organic milk from Strauss Dairy, whom I also love), and savoring every gulp, but I have yet to splurge for the raw cream. It must be heavenly. Maybe for Mother's will be my first after all!

And what better way to showcase cream than a creamy dessert! I have been wanting to use the vanilla beans my mother has had stashed in the cupboard since Christmas. There is just something so sexy about vanilla. It is subtle. It has class. People think it isn't dark and mysterious, but that is only because it holds its own. Vanilla's sex-appeal comes from its elusive, teasing quality. Chocolate might satisfy in a fury, but vanilla you can never quite hold on to. I like that. Ok, maybe we can just agree it tastes good.

I had a problem with my beans though, and here maybe someone can help me. The vanilla beans, which should speckle the custard throughout, actually congregated at the bottom and at the top of the custard. This is not the most ideal way to enjoy vanilla beans. Anyone have input?

Just so you know, the custard itself tasted incredible.

Vanilla Bean Custard (Lifted from the Martha Stewart website)
Some people like to eat this with whipped cream and strawberries, but I like it without adornment, to keep the simple ingredients simple: eggs, cream, sweet, vanilla.

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Choose a roasting or pyrex pan large enough to accommodate six 4 oz ramekins. Fill with enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the cups. Place pan without cups in the oven. Meanwhile, bring milk, cream, and vanilla bean to a boil in a saucepan.

Whisk yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. When milk mixture is ready, take off the heat. While whisking vigorously, pour hot milk slowly into the egg mixture until completely combined. Pour into custard cups and place them in the pan of hot water in the oven (still at 300) for 30-40 minutes, or until the center has set and is no longer liquid when touched lightly in the center. Remove from oven, remove from pan of water, and cool on wire racks. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. lovely and so simple! strange about the vanilla... I'm curious too if anyone knows why it would settle to the bottom and top