Custard; the alchemy of combining egg yolks with milk or cream and transforming them, by cooking, to an unctious, golden substance that I can’t resist in any form. When poured over a blackberry and apple pie, the fruit picked from the hedgerows, it’s my Autumnal food epitome. Then there are all the other sweet variations from crème brûlée, to egg custard tart, to crème anglaise in a dainty profiterole and, lest we forget, as a base for the best ice-cream. Furthermore there’s its savoury incarnation from quiches and tarts to components of some moussaka and bobotie recipes.
Are you inspired? I hope so because as the host of this month’s Mingle I can’t wait to see what you come up with. Thank you to Meeta, from What’s for Lunch, Honey? one of the warmest, generous and most talented food bloggers and photographers in the Universe for bestowing this hosting honour upon me. I can barely contain my excitement! See the rules for the Mingle below and do join me so we can make this the biggest, best and yellowest celebration of custard there has ever been.
For anyone who wants to join me, here’s what to do:
1. Create a dish that fits the custard theme as described above.
2. Post about it on your blog from now until November 30, 2011 (it would be great if you could use the Monthly Mingle badge in your posts).
3. Link to this post and/or the official Monthly Mingle Page.
4. Send a link to your post to email@example.com (with “monthly mingle” in the subject line) and include the following: your name, your blog’s name and URL, the name of your dish/food/entry and the URL/link to your Monthly Mingle post, and a 500-pixel-wide photo.
Here’s my recipe for plain simple custard sauce or crème anglaise to get you in the mood..
300 ml (1/2 pint) milk
1 vanilla pod, slit with knife
3 large egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon (15 ml) caster sugar
- Heat the milk together with the vanilla pod in a heavy-based saucepan until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and leave for 20 minutes so the flavour of the vanilla can infuse into the milk. Remove the pod (you can rinse, dry and store in sugar to make vanilla sugar).
- Put the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until thick and creamy. Gradually whisk in the warm milk, quickly wash up the saucepan, then strain through a seive back into the clean pan.
- Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 10-20 minutes. It’s ready when it coats the back of the spoon. If you have been stirring for 10 minutes and nothing is happening, raise the heat slightly. The mixture must not come to the boil. If it does start to curdle, strain into a cold bowl, add a few ice cubes and whisk hard.
Think of all the flavours you could add to this alone…orange, lemon, chocolate, cardamon, lavender… See you for the round-up.
P.S. Since posting, I’ve had a minor rebellion about the Coldplay suggestion in my comments! So what would you choose to play in your kitchen?