1/6/09

I'm So Vanilla.... Custard!

When I say "I'm so vanilla" I'm not just talking about my taste in life... I'm actually talking about food interests as well! Vanilla ice cream, vanilla custard, vanilla (white) cake, vanilla frosting... Just this week I painstakingly cut off every single tiny smear of chocolate from a slice of Dairy Queen ice cream cake so there wasn't a bit of chocolate to mar my delicious vanilla-ness. My husband stood and watched me like I was insane. But it's true, even the tiniest smudge of chocolate ruins a good vanilla, well, anything!

Baked Vanilla Custard

3 1/3 c whole milk (yes, use whole milk for this one!)
3 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
8 large egg yolks
2/3 c sugar


Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and vanilla beans and bring to a bare simmer over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let the mixture steep for 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and pale. Bring the milk back to a simmer and whisk it into the egg yolks in a thin stream (drizzle) so as to not curdle or cook the eggs. Strain the custard through a fine sieve set over a bowl. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes, then skim off the foam.

Use either one large stonewear or ramekin style dish or 8 individual ramekins. Place it or them inside a larger baking pan. Fill the ramekins three-quarters full with the custard. *Pour hot water into the baking pan to reach about halfway up the sides of the ramekins or casserole dish*. Cover the baking pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the custard is just set at the edge but still trembling in the center.

Remove the baking pan from the oven. Carefully lift the casserole or ramekins out of the pan and let cool at room temperature. Cover loosely and refrigerate, for at least 2 hours or up to 48. Serve chilled and you can dollop a small spoon of fresh whipped cream on top and even sprinkle a tiny bit of cinnamon if you'd like.
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