Tuesday, March 10, 2009
twd: chai spice custard
I almost sat this one out, as the most repeated word describing Lemon Cup Custards in the P&Q section of the TWD website was "eggy."
I've been experiencing egg issues. Namely, as a vegetarian the more I think about eating eggs, the weirder it seems. The last two times I've made veggie scrambles, I've been a little put off by the egginess. Now, I'd never stop using eggs in baking, but to eat a dish that is primarily "eggy," well, that's a point of contention right now. I hate to give up quiches and frittatas and such glorious, nutritious, protein-packed dishes, but if I can't overcome my aversion, they may go the way of all the other delicious foods like ham and bacon...
But I digress. After sitting out last week, I felt a gaping hole in my kitchen. It just wasn't the same without TWD participation! And so, I bravely set forth to make the custards, choosing chai spices--cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom, allspice, and black pepper--to overwhelm any possible "egginess." I used 2% milk to lighten these up a bit, and steeped it with one cinnamon stick, a small chunk of vanilla bean--split and scraped, several green cardamom pods, a few allspice berries, and a few whole tellicherry black pepper corns. I didn't measure the spices but tossed them in randomly. As I whisked the eggs and sugar, a fleck of egg flew off my whisk and landed on my face, much to my amusement... I worried that the custard would scramble, but I did a fine job of tempering the eggs, and the custard was smooth and silky. I made a half recipe, which fit into 4 small ramekins. Nestled in their bain marie, they cooked in 40 minutes.
This morning I tested one small bite, concerned that the chai spices would be too subtle...rather, they're *almost* too strong. the custard has a taut skin, and a creamy voluptuousness. I don't catch any pronounced egginess, but with one small bite it's hard to tell. This recipe was utter simplicity to make, and a versatile canvas to paint with any creative flavorings.
Thank you, Bridget, of The Way the Cookie Crumbles, for this week's selection. You'll find Dorie's recipe on her blog. For other eggy tales, check out the rest of the TWD bakers!