Showing posts with label baked custard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label baked custard. Show all posts

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pompadour Pudding

by Sheila Connolly

I post this recipe in honor of my college reunion this past weekend. Pompadour Pudding was one of our signature desserts, and we alumnae are still talking about it (well, that and the chocolate-peppermint pie…).

I don't know about your college experience, but back in my day meals were a big deal.  The menu didn't matter, just the break, sitting with friends, and so on.  Of course, in those distant days each dormitory had its own kitchen and made a lot of its food from scratch.  Now, mainly for economy reasons, the kitchens have been consolidated, and students must actually leave their dorm to eat (not much fun during New England winters!).  On the plus side, there is far more diversity than there once was (including one vegan/vegetarian/kosher dorm kitchen), and the hours are far more flexible.  Life, including food, marches on.

I've had this recipe for years.  I own custard cups because of it (I found them at a yard sale).  I know, nobody makes custard any more, but in this case I think it's worth it.  The custard is sweet and creamy, topped with a crisp and chocolaty crust that melts on the tongue.  And the whole thing is actually easy to make.

Makes 4


1½ cups whole milk
4 Tblsp. sugar
1 Tblsp. flour
Pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
½ tsp. vanilla

Mix all the custard ingredients except the vanilla and cook slowly (in a double-boiler if you have one) until it thickens slightly.  Add the vanilla last.

Pour the mixture into heatproof custard cups.

Chocolate meringue topping:

½ square chocolate (semisweet)
2 Tblsp. sugar
1 egg white
1 Tblsp. milk

Grate or finely chop the chocolate, then cook it together with the sugar and milk until the chocolate is melted.  Let the mixture cool (but not too much or it will stiffen).

Beat the egg white until stiff peaks form.  Fold into the cool chocolate mixture.

Drop heaping tablespoons of the meringue over the custard in the cups (it will float).

Set the custard cups into a pan of hot water (the water should come only partway up the sides).  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven the meringue is domed and looks crisp on the surface.

How long? Well, the original recipe said something like "cook until done."  I looked at an old Fanny Farmer cookbook recipe for custard and it said the same thing.  But this is not very time-sensitive.  I cooked mine (in the water-filled pan) for an hour, and the custard was set but not rubbery and the topping was crisp. 

And it tastes just the way it used to.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cleo Coyle's Creamy Egg Custard

Cleo Coyle, custard eater
and author of The
Coffeehouse Mysteries
Warm egg custard brings back equally warm memories for me...of Mom and home; crowded family kitchens and those familiar baking smells of goodies in the oven: eggs, milk, vanilla, and nutmeg.

My recipe for you this week is an easy but evocative one--a simple dessert that I hope will bring back that feeling of comfort for you, too. (We can all use it these days, I think.)

There are three secrets to producing a lovely custard with a smooth top and silky, creamy texture:

(1) use sifted confectioners' sugar, which will dissolve more easily;

(2) use room temp. eggs (just warm them quickly in a bowl of water from the tap)--this will help loosen the albumin (protein) and make it easier to properly blend the custard; and

(3) bake it low and slow and do not put foil on top of the custard cups or the roasting pan (as some recipes suggest). Below I'll show you what happens if you try to speed up the baking with a higher temperature or foil on top.
So here you go: Love in a cup from me to you, with a bit of nutmeg sprinkled on top…

Cleo Coyle’s
Baked Egg Custard

Servings: 4 (in 4-ounce size ramekins or custard cups)

1-1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs, room temperature (just sit them in bowl of warm tap water)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, sifted

Whisk together all ingredients until well blended and pour into 4 four-ounce size ramekins or custard cups. Place cups in a roasting pan or baking dish and create a shallow water bath by filling just enough to reach halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake uncovered in a preheated 325° F. oven for 1 hour and 5 minutes (the time may be a little longer or shorter, depending on your oven). When is it done? You are looking for the top to set. The custard may still jiggle slightly, but the top should no longer be liquid. It should feel firm (spongy but set) when lightly touched; and when a toothpick or skewer is inserted down into the custard at the edge of the cup, it should come out clean. Otherwise, keep baking and checking.

Remove from oven, take the cups out of the water bath, and allow them to cool for one hour on a rack. Eat the freshly baked custard at once or chill by placing plastic wrap over the top of each cup and storing in the refrigerator. (You need the plastic on there to prevent a skin from forming.) Note also that the low temperature and long baking time is important. If the custard boils, then you will end up with big, ugly pockmarks instead of a smooth, even top. This is also the reason you should bake the custard uncovered. (Some recipes suggest putting foil over the pan or cups to hasten bake time. Don't do it. Patience is a virtue in most things, but especially in making really good baked custard!)

Photos below show the easy steps in this process...

Whisk all ingredients together, divide evenly among
your 4 ramekins or custard cups. You'll notice that the nutmeg
floats to the top of the unbaked liquid. No worries.
It will look great in the finished custard,
as if you've sprinkled it on top.

Place ramekins in a shallow roasting or baking pan.
Fill with water, about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Baking tips...

To the left is what happens if you follow this recipe and bake the custard (uncovered) in a water bath at 325 degrees F. for 1 hour and 5 minutes.

o the right is what happens if you try to rush the process of baking. Do you see those unsightly pockmarks on the top of the custard? That comes from the custard boiling instead of cooking slowly. In the batch at the right, I sealed aluminum foil over the roasting pan. Yes, this sped up the cooking time but it also made the custard boil, creating this less silky result.

Allow the custard to cool for an hour after removing from the oven.
If you chill or store in the fridge, don't forget to seal plastic wrap
over the top of the ramekins or custard cups to prevent
a skin from forming.
Now all you have to do is
pour a fresh cup of coffee and...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle
author of the
Coffeehouse Mysteries 

To get more of my recipes
or to find out about the books
in my nationally bestselling
Coffeehouse Mystery series,
visit me at my official website: