Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Craving Vanilla Custard

Sadly enough, there haven't been many posts in this month. Due to a couple of very busy days, I didn't even have time to read my favourite blogs. But even worse, I've even managed to miss the deadline for this month's Sugar High Friday... If I'm very lucky, Jennifer - The Domestic Goddess who not only invented this popular blogging event but also hosts it this time - will have mercy on me - but if not, I can't blame her...

Anyway, I still want to tell a story about one of my all-time cravings. But beware, it's not something very interesting. Most likely, most people will have made something like that ages ago: homemade vanilla custard.
However, when I was little, I thought vanilla custard came out of a box. I did know that milk does come from cows and not from the supermarket (after all, I grew up in a little village and visited said cows almost every evening). But whenever I was craving vanilla custard, my mum would just open a paper package with a flour-like mixture, stir it into milk, and after a little boiling I was a happy camper. Up to today, I still don't know anyone personally (at least in Germany) who would make it from scratch. Although it might be possible that I accidentally made something that qualifies as custard when working on a more involved dessert recipe, I haven't done it consciously - until last weekend.

Jennifer's task to create something that you crave regularly but never actually made yourself was the proper occasion to finally try my hands on my very first vanilla custard. That said, this recipe isn't particularly difficult and it was whipped up in no time. However, I felt a bit timid. Would it be able to stand up against the beloved package mix? Could I - at the ripe old age of 30 - leave my childish custard addiction behind and fall in love with the real thing?

I tasted at every stage, carefully monitoring the changes in texture, colour, and taste. And truth be told, once the egg yolks were incorporated, this custard tasted exactly like the one I was already used to (but I take care to buy the good stuff with real vanilla). Not only taste, even colour and creaminess were exactly the same. A bit startled, I folded in the egg whites. And that's where things started changing. My eggs had been too big. Whilst this foamy feather-light custard was still pretty good, it had nothing to do with my treasured memory. And it was by far too soupy to set and be inverted later (I tried and it resulted in a very unphotogenic puddle on the plate). End of the story: I guess I will still resort to my package mix - unless it's a very special occasion...

Homemade Vanilla Custard

The ingredients
750ml whole milk
100g cornstarch (if you want to invert it - the original recipe stated only 60g)
75-100g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 small eggs, separated (If you only have large eggs, use two yolks and one egg white)

Serves 6

Whisk cornstarch, sugar, and vanilla bean paste into roughly 150ml of the milk.
Bring the remainder of the milk to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and stir in the cornstarch mix, using a wire whisk. Move back to heat and let it come to a boil again. Let boil for at least a minute or until noticeably thickened.

Stir the egg yolks into the thickened milk. (I waited a couple of minutes to let it cool down a little bit - didn't want to end up with scrambled eggs). The mixture will thicken a bit more.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the custard.

Pour custard into moulds and let cool. Refrigerate until serving.

The source
Adapted from Hedwig Maria Stuber: Ich helf Dir kochen

The hint
Serve with your favourite fruity sauce. I used frozen raspberries heated up in some Cointreau with a little sugar added.


Patricia Scarpin said...

I'm sorry to know that the custard didn't end up the way you remembered it - but it looks delicious. And the raspberry topping won my heart!

The Cooking Ninja said...

mmm...looks delicious

Nora B. said...

Eva, that was a lovely post. And I must say that you managed to get a good shot of the uncooperative custard too. I thought it tasted very good and it didn't even need the rasberry syrup. Thanks for letting me have some of your homemade custard.
p/s: my mistake, I think the deadline is 29th June.

Anh said...

Eva, this looks very good to me. I am not much of a custard fan, but I enjoy it occasionally.

Eva said...

Patricia - Luckily, anything with raspberries on top can't be really bad...;-)

Thanks, cooking ninja!

Nora - In the end, I decided to spare you the sight of the puddle on the plate...looked decidedly undelicious... And thanks for coming, it was a lovely evening!

Thanks Anh - For some reason, vanilla custard seems to be a very German thing. Now I can indulge in the box mix even without feeling like a "bad foodie"...;-)

Tartelette said...

Catcing up on posts and you have been a busy gal! Beautiful colors! This sounds delicious! I think we would all lie if we did not admit to a little boxed cheat once in a while!

Eva said...

Thanks, dear! And isn't it nice to indulge in a cheat treat once in a while - now that I know that the real thing isn't better anyway..;-)