Friday, December 10, 2010

Family Recipe Friday - Grandma Bean's Baked Custard

Mary Faudree Bean
1897 - 1975

When I was only 5 years old, my Grandmother came to live with us. If I could say anyone "taught" me much about cooking, it would have to be her.

She was a cook from necessity. Having raised a family during the depression, she knew how to scrimp and save everything imaginable!

Today we think dessert has to a rich and gooey extravaganza! But Grandma knew how to take eggs, sugar and cream and make the most delectable of desserts!

Egg Custard!

Grandma Bean's Egg Custard

4 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
3 cups milk, heated until very hot
Ground nutmeg or ground cinnamon for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to center position. Lightly butter (or I have used non-fat vegetable spray) six (6-ounce) custard cups and set them into a large baking dish. If cooking custards in a metal pan, cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of newspaper to ensure an even temperature on the bottom.

In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly; add sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and beat until dissolved. Mix in hot milk until blended. Pour egg mixture into prepared custard cups. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon.

Bring the water for the water bath to a light simmer on top of the stove; carefully pour hot water into the baking pan to come half-way up the sides of the custard cups. NOTE: The most common mistake people make in baking a custard is not putting enough water in the hot-water bath. The water should come up to the level of the custard inside the cups. You must protect your custard from the heat. Carefully pour hot water into the baking pan to come halfway up the sides of the custard cups.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until set around the edges but still loose in the center. The cooking time will depend largely on the size of the custard cup you are using, but begin checking at 20 minutes and check back regularly. When the center of the custard is just set, it will jiggle a little when shaken, that's when you can remove it from the oven. Remove from oven and immediately remove cups from water bath; cool on wire rack until room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Makes 6 servings (depending on size of custard cups).

This is by far the best dessert you could ever have!

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