Tuesday, March 8, 2022

SURVIVE EVERYTHING. A Comfort Food Post from @CleoCoyle #InternationalWomensDay2022


From Cleo Coyle: Things go wrong. They always do. They go wrong in your life. They go wrong in the world. If you've lived long enough, you know this is the rule and not the exception. Like the turning of the globe, the same mistakes come around again. As you watch, it's a struggle not to lose heart, if not your bloomin' mind!

That's why today, which is also International Women's Day, I am passing on the advice of one of my favorite octogenarians, a woman who's been to hell and back, who has suffered great loss, who has fought bad forces, stood up to corruption, battled to protect her loved ones and build something worthwhile, day in and day out, year in and year out. 

Yes, my Grande Dame of Greenwich Village is a fictional character, but she was inspired by real women I've known and long admired (including my own mother and aunt). And through my many years on this planet, I've fought many of her battles, too. So today I say in the voice of so many strong women around the world, when you feel ready to give up...DON'T. In Madame's words, "Survive everything. And do it with style."

And now, because the world can alway use it...

A little comfort food!

Warm vanilla custard brings back equally warm memories for me of my mom and childhood home, of my family's cozy kitchen and a just-baked custard out of the oven, smelling of egg and fresh milk, vanilla and nutmeg. 

As we come to the close of winter, I offer you this simple recipe to warm your heart, one that I hope will bring back that feeling of comfort for you, as well. 

Cleo Coyle created two
bestselling mystery 
mystery series, which she
writes in collaboration
with her husband. To
learn more, click here

 ☕ A Recipe Note from Cleo

Baked egg custard is a lovely and satisfying comfort food that I've been eating ever since my mother made it for me as a child. I've baked it countless times since and am happy to share two tips I've learned along the way for producing an easy yet lovely custard with a smooth top and silky, creamy texture.

(1) Use room temperature eggs. Simply warm them (while still in their shells, of course) in a bowl of warm water from the tap. This will help loosen the albumin (protein) in the egg and make it easier for you to properly blend the custard.

(2) Bake it low and slow and do not put foil on top of the custard cups or the roasting pan (as some recipes suggest). At the end of the recipe, I'll show you a picture of what happens if you try to speed up the baking with a higher temperature or foil on top.

So here you go. Warm comfort in a cup from me to you, with a bit of nutmeg on top… 

To download this recipe 
in a free PDF document 
you can print, save, 
or share, 
click here.

Click here for the free recipe PDF.

Click on the coffeehouse above 
to learn about our long-running 
Coffeehouse series and join us 
for a warm cuppa mystery!

☕ Cleo Coyle's 
Warm Winter Custard with Vanilla and Nutmeg

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


1-1/4 cups whole milk

3 eggs (room temperature is best)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar


Step 1: Whisk together all ingredients. I do this in a large measuring cup because the spout makes it easy to pour in the next step. 

Step 2: Pour the liquid mixture into 4 four-ounce size ramekins or custard cups, dividing evenly. Place the ramekins in a roasting pan or baking dish and create a shallow water bath by filling just enough to reach halfway up the sides of your ramekins or custard cups. 

Step 3: Bake 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. It may still jiggle slightly, but it should be firm to a light touch 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 and water bath and allow to cool for one hour on a rack. Eat at once or chill by placing plastic wrap over the top of each cup. (You need the plastic on there to prevent a skin from forming.)

A few final recipe tips...

The photo above 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. Creamy, silky delicious custard. 

The photo at right is what happens if you try to rush the process of baking by raising the oven temperature or covering the pan with foil. 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 purposely 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. So be sure to avoid it!

Finally, 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. 

Eat (and read) with joy!

New York Times bestselling author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries and
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

This is me -- Cleo (Alice) 
with my husband Marc.

Visit our online coffeehouse here.
And follow us at these links...

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Our New 
Coffeehouse Mystery!

It will hold a space on my 
BEST READS list for this year.

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To Learn more or Buy:



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"The powerhouse writing duo that makes up
Cleo Coyle has done it again with this
19th installment of the Coffeehouse Mysteries.
What do I love about these books? EVERYTHING…
HONEY ROASTED needs to be on every mystery
lover’s to be read list."

Fresh Fiction

"Red herrings pop up at every turn and
relationships aren’t what they seem.
Coyle knows how to please cozy 

Publishers Weekly

"Coyle's latest Coffeehouse mystery is
a honey of a tale....A primer on bees,
coffee, and some of New York's most
unusual and exciting areas make for a

—Kirkus Reviews

and fast-paced…This is one of the best books
in the series and I can’t wait to see what
adventures await Clare and her friends."

—Dru Ann Love, award-winning reviewer,
Dru's Book Musings

Click here or on the image
above for the recipe guide
to Honey Roasted.

Get a free Title Checklist of Cleo's
Coffeehouse Books in Order
Click here 
or on the image below.


  1. So simple. So unctuous. And so satisfying.
    Have you tried sweetening them with maple syrup?

    1. Hi, Libby -- Using maple syrup or even honey instead of sugar is a nice idea. I haven't tried it, but it sounds delicious.

      This is also a good recipe for anyone looking to get away from gluten-based desserts. A low-carb version is easy to whip up by substituting the sugar with stevia, monk fruit, or another low-carb sweetener.

      Thanks for stopping by the Kitchen. And may the rest of your week be delicious.

      ~ Cleo
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      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”

  2. Looks tasty! I am loving Honey Roasted, a story that has me craving coffee, honey, and pizza at the same time! Thanks Cleo.

    1. Hi, Sandy - LOL on your cravings. Spot-on for HONEY ROASTED. And if anyone is wondering how "pizza" fits into our honey-themed Coffeehouse Mystery, read the book and you'll see! Cheers for stopping by today and thanks so much for joining Clare and Company on their newest culinary adventure.

      ~ Cleo
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      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”

  3. What a fun post, Cleo. I just found out about The Ghost and the Stolen Tears and preordered it. Can't wait for Jack's return.

    1. Hi, Cindy -- Oh, thank you so much for the pre-order! Yes, Jack, the beloved ghost who stars in our 2nd mystery series, will be back, sleuthing again with Pen (the bookseller he loves to haunt) this October. THE GHOST AND THE STOLEN TEARS will be the 8th entry in our Haunted Bookshop Mysteries and we hope you enjoy it!

      ~ Cleo
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      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”

  4. Thank you for the lovely tribute, Cleo. Madame is my favorite character. She is wise and wisecracking, and feisty, too. Is there a Madame mystery in the future?

    1. Hi, Gina -- I'm glad to know you're a Madame fan. She would be honored. As far as a Madame mystery, you never can tell! In the meantime, we hope you'll keep reading...and keep in touch!

      ~ Cleo
      Sign up for Cleo’s free Newsletter

      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”

  5. Hi Cleo! Your custard looks amazing. Your food pictures are always beautiful.

  6. Custard looks yummy! Looking forward to the next ghost book. 👏👏😊