The festive season is well and truly upon us.
Last minute Christmas present shopping, wrapping of said presents, Christmas carols, list making, menu planning. It can all feel a little chaotic.
Truth be told this is one of my favourite times of the year, where everyone around the world share in the same feelings of chaos and joy and anticipation and an overwhelming desire to be with family. There are few moments in our busy over scheduled world where an event like Christmas, regardless of faith and religion can inspire such a worldly positive reaction.
I love that people put inhibition aside and wear ridiculous t shirts and jumpers, tinsel becomes hair accessories and strangers acknowledge each other with “merry Christmas.” It is a time for giving, for thinking of others and for being free to show your care and crazy to the world without judgement. It is a time where some of the oldest traditions are welcomed.
Some tradition, however has been (happily?) passed on over to the food processing gods in an effort to free up our time. Real egg Custard is one of those lost traditions.
If you only do one thing different this Christmas, make it this, give yourself 20 minutes a few days before Christmas to make yourself some real – not out of a carton – egg custard.
There is no comparison.
Although it’s common place in every fridge at this time of year, this is not a recipe simply to file away for a once in a year festive treat. Custard creates the base for many of our favoured desserts, it’s timeless and classic and can use up a great quantity of spare egg yolks that have been left over from an egg white cooking frenzy.
There is always a pressure of time when it comes to these sort of cooking jobs or of kitchen skills that are beyond our limits. but fear not, the custard can be made ahead of schedule by a few days and simply warmed up or served cold when needed.
Real egg Custard
90g Egg yolk
100g caster sugar
600ml full cream milk
1 vanilla bean seeds scraped
Into a saucepan over medium heat add the milk, 50g of the sugar and the seeds and pod of the vanilla bean.
Bring the milk to just below a boil, where it is steaming rapidly. (If you have some time remove from heat and allow the vanilla to infuse for 20 minutes, then bring back up to temperature)
In a separate bowl add the egg yolks and the remaining 50g sugar. Whisk until pale and fully incorporated together.
Whilst whisking the eggs, add a little of the hot milk, whisk until mixed, then add some more milk. Continue until all the milk is incorporated.
Wipe out the saucepan, and strain the milk and egg mix back into the saucepan. Discard, including the vanilla seed pod.
Place on medium heat and with a wooden spoon, stir continuously until the custard changes consistency and thickens to coat the back of a spoon. (if you have a thermometer don’t let it go above 84C or it will scramble the eggs)
Remove from heat and cover the custard with a ca-touche. That is a piece of plastic or silicon paper pressed onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming.
Once cooled down to room temperature, place in the fridge. Chill for 4 hours or overnight. Will make 600ml custard
For a spiked brandy custard add 2 tbsp of brandy to the milk with the vanilla bean.
For eggnog once the custard is cooled add 2 tbsp of bourbon and 150ml pouring cream. Mix and serve in glasses with cinnamon and ground nutmeg on top.
For a thicker custard stir in 20g cornflour into the egg yolks with the sugar. Whisk until you have a smooth paste then continue following recipe as above.
For a fructose free version, replace the caster sugar to taste with rice malt syrup or stevia.
I always strain my egg milk mix to remove any particles that may have formed through the milk and rough bits of egg. It basically helps to retain a smooth custard.
I would recommend making a double batch, it is amazing how fast the custard can disappear when sneaky spoonfuls are being eaten from the fridge.
If you make this recipe don’t throw away those precious egg whites freeze them for later use.
This year for my little family it seems to be about firsts. It will be the first Christmas in our very own home. The first where our little kiddlets “get” what Santa is about. The first ever preschool Christmas concert for us. We are going to be spending our day, celebrating, loving and cherishing every adorably excited moment of our Christmas Day. How are you planning on spending your Christmas?