Creamy Baked Custards
Take care not to overcook the custards — they should be just set when you take them out of the oven. This dessert is perfect for dinner parties because the custards can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until serving.
- 2 cups 1% milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 pound fresh cherries, pitted
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
How to make it 1 hour, 15 minutes
1. Place the milk and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until almost boiling. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside to infuse for 15 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place the whole eggs, egg yolks, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and flour in a bowl and lightly whisk together.
3. Bring the milk back to a boil, then remove the vanilla bean, and slowly pour the hot milk over the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Strain the mixture into a pitcher, then divide among six 4-ounce ramekin dishes that have been coated with cooking spray.
4. Set the ramekins in a shallow roasting pan and pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the custards are lightly set, about 30 to 35 minutes. The custards should be slightly wobbly in the center as they will continue to cook for a few minutes after being removed from the oven. Lift the custards out of the pan of hot water and place on a wire rack to cool. After cooling, refrigerate until ready to serve.
5. For the compote: Place 1 tablespoon sugar and 6 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and add the cherries. Cover the pan and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cherries and place them in a small serving bowl; set aside.
6. Mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water and then stir mixture into the cherry juices in the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring, until thickened and clear, about 1 minute. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then pour the sauce over the cherries. (The compote can be served warm or at room temperature.) Spoon a little of the cherry compote over the top of each custard, and serve the rest of the compote on the side.
Some More Ideas
If you want to turn the custards out for serving, line the bottom of each ramekin with a circle of baking parchment,
and add 1 extra egg yolk to the mixture. After baking, chill for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. To turn out, lightly press the edge of each custard with your fingertips to pull it away from the dish, then run a knife around the edge. Place an inverted serving plate on top of the ramekin, then turn them both over, holding them firmly together, and lift off the ramekin.
Chocolate custard pots with poached pears: Flavor the milk with a thin strip of pared orange zest instead of the vanilla bean. In Step 2, use light brown sugar, and add 1 tablespoon sifted cocoa powder. Continue making the custards
as in the main recipe. For the pears, heat 1 cup water with 1/4 cup sugar and a split vanilla bean until the sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 4 small, firm dessert pears, peeled, cored, and thickly sliced. Cover and simmer gently until just tender, about 12 to 15 minutes, turning the pear slices in the syrup occasionally. Lift out the pears with a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving dish. Simmer the syrup for 5 minutes to reduce slightly, then cool for 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and pour over the pears.
* When cooking for people with diabetes, it is important to limit high-cholesterol foods whenever possible. Only two egg yolks are needed in this recipe to stabilize the custards. This limits the amount of total cholesterol in the dessert.
* Cherries are rich in potassium and provide useful amounts of vitamin C.
Nutritional Information(per serving)
- Calories: 165
- Calories from Fat: 44
- Fat: 5g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Cholesterol: 145mg
- Sodium: 65mg
- Carbs: 25g
- Sugars: 21g
- Protein: 7g
- Fiber: 2g
Exchanges: carbohydrate 1 1/2 fat 1
Excellent source of riboflavin. Good source of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin B12.