Sunday, December 13, 2009

Custard

This is probably one of my proudest cooking accomplishments to date! This is not the regular custard you think of that resembles pudding; it is a drink that is similar to egg nog. My grandmother would make this for us every year and when I think of Christmas I think of custard.

Each year my grandmother brought the custard and proclaimed it would be her last year making it as she always burned the milk and the final product was full of lumps. This made me nervous that the recipe would be difficult, however I was determined to try. I never had the opportunity to make this with my grandmother, but luckily she left a handwritten recipe for my mom and her sister. I was very nervous that I would experience the troubles Nana used to have, however I found it very easy (as long as you have a big enough pot). Mine turned out with the exact flavor I remember and completely lump free! I can't wait to take over the tradition of making custard for our family....it will have to start next year though because the Kasiks are heading to Mexico!!

Custard

Ingredients:
1/2 gallon whole or 2% milk (I used 2% as I couldn't bring myself to go with the full fat version)
4 large eggs, separated
3/4 to 1 cup sugar (I think I used closer to 1 c as I added more sugar after everything was added)
1/4 c sugar for egg whites
2 T flour
2 T vanilla extract

Directions:
1. In a LARGE pot (make sure there is plenty of extra room) pour the entire 1/2 gallon of milk and bring to a boil. Make sure to constantly stir and watch this to prevent the milk from scorching.
2. While waiting for milk to boil, beat egg whites with a mixer on high until stiff peaks form, adding 1/4 cup of sugar while they whip. This is where a stand mixer comes in handy as you can just turn it on and get back to whisking your milk.
3. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks together and set aside. My grandmother's instructions said to add a little cold milk to this so they don't knot up later on. She also specified that she used a fork to whisk egg yolks. :)
4. In another bowl, stir together sugar and flour. Add some cold milk to this and whisk together so there are no lumps and to dissolve the sugar.
5. Once milk comes to a boil, add some of the warm liquid to the egg yolks to temper them and then add them back to the boiling milk.
6. Also add in the sugar/flour mixture and whisk into the milk and bring the milk back to a boil.
7. Once the milk mixture comes back to a boil, remove 2 cups and slowly add to egg whites as mixer is going (after they are firm). This will make the egg whites liquidy.
8. Add egg whites to the milk and whisk to make sure everything is well incorporated. I let this cook a minute or two, but my grandmother didn't specify what to do in her instructions.
**See how the mixture has doubled in size from the first picture of the milk in the pan alone. That is the importance of having a large pot!! I actually need a bigger one. :)
9. Add vanilla and remove from heat.
10. Taste the mix and see if it needs a little more sugar. It will get sweeter and thicker as it cools. It should end up being similar to the consistency of egg nog, although maybe a little thinner.
11. Once the mixture has cooled down some, transfer to a pitcher or back into the milk jug (that is how Nana always stored it). Put in refrigerator and then drink when cold. Make sure to shake up jug before pouring as when I made it a little film formed on top that may cause lumps.

***If you think your custard is lump, strain it before pouring into pitcher.

I hope you enjoy custard as much as I do!! I apologize the pictures aren't the best, but it is hard to photograph a drink. :)

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