To make classic custard that’s perfect for dessert, I prepared the following ingredients:
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup evaporated milk (I used this as a direct substitute for the recipe’s heavy cream)
- 1 small pack Nestle cream (225mL)
- Dash of cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
I also armed myself with the following tools:
- Small silicone-tipped whisk
- Wooden spoon
- Measuring cup and spoons
- Mixing bowl
- 8-ounce ramekins
- Aluminum foil
- Food-grade plastic clingwrap
- Small saucepan
- Saladmaster Electric Skillet
In a large mixing bowl, slowly whisk the sugar into the egg and egg yolks. On my previous attempt, I used only egg yolks and the result was a very creamy custard – adding the egg white to the mix will allow for a little thicker consistency.
Don’t simply dump all of the sugar in. The sugar granules tend to burn into the yolk and it produces thick clumps, which means you have to mix longer. Add the sugar gradually while continuing to mix with the whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved.
In a saucepan over low heat, combine the Nestle cream with the evaporated milk. Constantly keep stirring, as the mixture may develop a thick film on top if left sitting for too long. Add the vanilla and sprinkle some cinnamon – stir for a few more minutes to let the flavors steep. The mixture will get a very smooth consistency as it heats up, but do not let it boil. You’ll know that the temperature is just right when small bubbles appear at the edges. Remove from heat.
Using a spoon, slowly add the milk mixture into the egg-sugar mix and continue mixing with the whisk. This is to slowly bring up the temperature of the entire mixture. Do not add the milk mixture all in one go – the sudden rise in temperature will shock the egg yolks and you’ll end up with milky scrambled eggs instead.
After adding a few spoonfuls, slowly pour the milk mixture while still constantly mixing. We chose to add the lemon juice and another dash of cinnamon during this time.
Run the mix under a strainer while pouring into the ramekins. Cover each with foil to protect the custard from too much heat.
I arranged the ramekins in the Saladmaster electric skillet and added water to about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Set it up to 75degrees C, and cooking time will be from half an hour to maybe under an hour, depending on the quantity and depth of the ramekins you’re using. I used the electric skillet for the precise temperature control it offered. *Traditionally, you’d want to cook these in an oven – preheat it to 325degrees F, put the ramekins in a water bath, and cook for about the same amount of time. The water bath protects the ramekins from sudden temperature increases. If the custard goes over 80degrees C or is cooked too long, they will start to curdle and get ruined – you’ll end up with buying something else for dessert.
You’ll know that the custards are done by checking if the edges are set and giving them a little nudge – if it shakes as a cohesive unit with some jiggle in the center, then it’s done. Alternately, you can also insert a knife in the center and check if it comes out clean but I honestly didn’t want to stab these lovely custards that way. When they’re done, remove from heat, discard the foil, and immediately cover with the clingwrap – you can choose to let the clingwrap touch the custard directly so it does not develop a skin/film on top.
Allow to cool before transferring to the fridge and chill for a couple hours before serving – they may be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days.
You can enjoy the custard straight from the fridge, or you can choose to garnish with your favorite topping(s). We tried slices of overripe banana with chopped dark chocolate, and our guests loved ‘em. You can experiment with your own mix and see what works for you.
Next time, we will try infusing other flavors in the milk mixture instead of just adding vanilla and cinnamon – we have in mind using coffee and also experimenting with fruits. We can also try the custard cream that can be used as a sauce or as filling for use on cakes and pastries!
Check back often for updates on our dessert adventures. Until then – remember to always leave room for dessert.(Written by my “pastry chef” hubby, AJ) =)