Friday, November 23, 2012

Baked Custard (Gluten Free)

Michaela, Bob's old boss, came to dinner Wednesday night. We had corned  beef and  Brussels sprouts for dinner, so I was looking for something light  and easy, not to say gluten free, for dessert. It being the night  before Thanksgiving, it  did not seem like the time for pies.
 I have to say, baked custard is sort of a namby-pamby dessert. It doesn't have much flavor. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was known as invalid food. Mothers fed it to sick children.
The recipe calls for scalded milk. You scald milk  by heating it slowly, until a ring of tiny bubbles form around the side of the pan. The website,  says scalding milk "infuses it with flavor," so the cook can scald milk with vanilla beans, mint leaves or other herbs and spices. Scalding also speeds up the cooking process. If you run across a bread recipe that tells you to scald the milk, you should follow the directions, as scalding milk deactivates the whey proteins in the milk, which can keep the dough from rising properly. (Make sure the milk has cooled somewhat, otherwise when you mix it into the eggs, they will cook.
  I asked Bob to bring home some raspberries, and he inventively made a raspberry sauce in the blender. What you see in the picture is the raspberry sauce. Custard is a very pale yellow.   The cooking time seemed to be off. Hewitt says twenty-five to thirty minutes. It seemed more like 40  to 50 minutes before it solidified.

Baked Custard

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups milk, scalded
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat the eggs with the sugar, salt and vanilla. Stir in the milk. (Make sure it has a chance to cool.) Pour into a baking dish or casserole that has been greased on the bottom. Sprinkle with the nutmeg. Set baking dish or casserole in a pan of hot water and bake twenty-five to thirty minutes, or until a knife inserted in custard comes out clean. Makes four servings.

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