February 18, 2021

BAKED EGG CUSTARD

 

Sometimes the simplest of desserts is just what you need and hits the spot just as much as other more sophisticated concoctions.


My neighbours had an excess of milk and gave us two pints.  After about three days we were still behind on the milk consumption and I was gleefully thinking of ways to use it up.  We are very fortunate in that we have milk delivered to our doorstep in glass bottles, two pints on Tuesdays and Thursdays and three on Saturdays, making a total of seven per week or one a day.  That's just the right amount for us and the milkman (a young man with alarmingly red dyed hair) also brings us half a dozen totally delicious free range eggs on a Thursday. 


We were behind on the egg consumption as well so an egg custard sprung to mind.  Not a custard tart but just a baked egg custard, just like Mum used to make regularly when she had milk to spare.  In fact even if she didn't have milk to spare.  I would request an egg custard and she would say yes but only if I went to the farm for some more milk.  The farm was called Splash Farm and I would trot joyfully down the road and knock on the door of the farmhouse.  The cows grazed in the fields opposite our house.  The farmer's wife always wore wellingtons and a floral pinny and there was a distinct whiff of cowshed as she opened the door (the only bit I didn't like about the farm).  The milk was in crates standing on the ancient cold stone flags just inside the front door, ready for the steady trickle of callers nipping down the lane for an extra pint or two.  Happy days.



I hadn't made an egg custard for at least thirty years and had only a scant recollection of how my mum used to make it.  I did a bit of internet research and came across this recipe which seemed the simplest and the most like how she would have done it.  Some of the others I found were much too fancy, using cream and flavourings that she would never have used.

I doubled up the quantities in the recipe and made two puddings, giving one back to the neighbours.  I did knock on their door and ask first (socially distanced) if they would like one, not to feel obliged to say yes.  Their eyes lit up and faces beamed.  

Although there is only half a pint of milk in each pudding it was enough for four portions.  There was however a great temptation to scoff the lot between the two of us in one go!


And here's one I made later, using four small ramekins.
They were done in around 30 minutes.

Ingredients

½ pint (300ml) semi skimmed milk
2 medium eggs
1oz (25g) caster sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract
grated nutmeg

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C / 150° fan / gas mk 3.

Put the milk into a small saucepan and heat gently until hot but not boiling.  Put the eggs, vanilla and sugar into a bowl and give a light whisk to combine.  Pour a little of the hot milk onto the eggs and stir well.  Add the rest of the milk and stir together.  (I read on another website that adding all the hot milk at once can cause the eggs to curdle.)

Pour the mixture through a sieve into a suitable 1 pint ovenproof dish and sprinkle a little grated nutmeg over the top.  (I used a small Pyrex lasagne dish that I got from a charity shop for 50p.  I am always baffled that anyone would give such a useful thing away.)  Another alternative would be to divide the mixture between four ovenproof ramekins.

Bake for about 45 minutes until just set.  It should have a slight wobble and not be either still runny or completely set.  Allow to cool until just warm before serving.

Serves 4.

13 comments:

  1. You must've read my mind!!! I wondered what to do with the grandee when he comes on Sunday, I'm a bit caked out, when I thought of egg custard. Thank you so much for checking it out for me!! lol
    It was my Mother's standby too, healthy and cheap... typical 'after the war food.
    Your photos are making my mouth water.....
    Xx

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    1. Christine, it would be a great way to entertain a youngster, not too much measuring or hard mixing! And only 45 mins in the oven, too!

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  2. I love these as a pudding in the summer - in an individual ramekin on a saucer with a few berries alongside.

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    1. Angela, I didn't think about the ramekins until I'd poured it into my Pyrex dish, but I will next time.
      My mum used a Pyrex pie dish or sometimes a rather battered old enamel one.

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  3. Great comfort good - simple and good. Cheers

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  4. I grew up on it week after week of egg custard as Mum used to call it. Elizabeth makes it every now and then. I cannot stand it as I had so much as a child and must have liked it then. Probably psychosomatic...

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    1. Colin, week after week is no longer a treat, it's probably normal to end up disliking it. Mind you, my mum's regular pudding was an apple crumble and I can't imagine ever getting fed up with that!

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  5. My father doesn't like it either, it being one of those school desserts he came away hating. So we only had it rarely at home. I suspect Simon doesn't like it either, so I probably won't make it. Shame, because it would be nice as a change and I love a good nutmegy skin.

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    1. Susan, in your position I would make one just for me! It's only half a pint of milk and two eggs and I would make my OH his favourite, which in Nick's case is any kind of crumble.

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  6. Oh good, you’re back! I was a bit flummoxed when your blog disappeared since although I don’t comment much it is a great source of reliable recipes. Lovely memories in this entry!

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    1. Thanks Veronica, I was doing a bit of offline pruning!

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  7. It's a long, long, long time since I had an egg custard. I'd just about forgotten that such things existed. If I remember correctly, I really loved this pudding and I think it looked just like yours. It was a signature dish of one of my aunts and it always seemed exotic compared to the food at home.

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    1. Phil, I find it hard to think of this as "exotic" but on the other hand anything cooked by an aunt was a real treat. Eating out as such, beyond the occasional fish and chip supper or slice of cake in a teashop, was unheard of in our house. We only ever "ate out" if we went to an aunt's house for Sunday tea.

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