-In from Daisy, our resident foodie: Vanilla Bean Custard with Roasted Berries -
Every cook should have a homemade custard recipe in his or her repertoire. It is the base for so many desserts and yet, is fairly simple to master. The key is to temper the eggs with the milk so you don’t end up with bits of scrambled eggs. Depending on how much egg or thickener is used, custard may vary in consistency from a thin, pourable sauce to thick pastry cream. Vanilla is the most basic, but the milk used to make custard can be flavored with chocolate, coffee, liqueurs, extracts or infused with spices, herbs or nut pastes.
The custard I’m sharing today is the basic vanilla variety, which makes it very versatile. It can be used to fill cream puffs or eclairs, and as a layer between stacked cakes. Smooth and silky, this is the custard used in banana cream and Boston Cream pies. While it is delicious on its own, vanilla custard is the perfect base for fresh fruit tarts, and delicious in crepes drizzled with fruit compote, or served with roasted blueberries and blackberries.
-RECIPE - VANILLA BEAN CUSTARD WITH ROASTED BERRIES
Yields 4 to 6 Servings
- For the Custard: For the Berry Compote: 2 cup whole milk 1 cup berries 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped or 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar 2 teaspoons pure vanilla paste or extract Zest from 1 lemon 6 large egg yolks Juice from 1 lemon wedge 1/2 cup granulated sugar 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour 3 tablespoons unsalted butter ice bath, to cool custard quickly Method: For the custard In a small saucepan, add milk and seeds of vanilla bean scraped from its pod (if using vanilla extract, add after custard has been taken off the heat) and heat until it is warm (do not boil). Set aside. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar until color lightens to a pale yellow and the mixture falls back into the bowl in layers resembling ribbon (ribbon stage), approximately 1-2 minutes. Add flour and whisk until fully incorporated. Whisking continuously at low speed, temper the eggs by slowly adding about ½ cup of the warm milk/vanilla bean mixture into the egg yolk/sugar mixture, starting with a small amount at first and then a steady stream. Once the ½ cup of the milk has been added, pour the tempered mik/egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk to make the custard mixture. Over medium-high heat and whisking constantly, heat the custard until it begins to bubble. Once bubbling, cook for another 2 minutes and remove from heat. Immediately add in vanilla paste or extract (if using) and butter until combined. For a perfectly smooth and silky consistency, strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve. To cool custard quickly, place the saucepan in an ice bath and stir the custard until lukewarm, and then divide evenly among custard cups, small jars, glasses, or ramekins and chill until serving time. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface of curd to prevent a skin from forming. Custard will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For the berries Heat oven to 450°degrees. Place desired assortment of berries in a shallow roasting dish and sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar and lemon zest. Roast in oven for about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once to ensure even roasting. The berries should just be cooked enough to release their juices and create a little sauce on the bottom of the roasting dish. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over berries as soon as they are removed from the oven. To assemble for service, spoon the berries with some of their juice over the custard and serve immediately. -• Adapted from Smitten Kitchen