Custard is a silky, pudding-like dessert that follows the same basic principles as ice cream making, only with more egg yolks and a trip to the oven instead of the freezer to finish it off. Custard is often baked in ramekins, which are small, oven-ready dishes that hold individual portions and are used to serve the custard after it is baked.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Gather all of the custard ingredients and whisk the eggs, extra yolks and sugar together in a mixing bowl.
Whisk the milk or cream into the egg and sugar mixture until it is all blended together. Set your ramekins into a larger baking dish with sides at least as high as the ramekins.
Pour the custard mixture into the ramekins, leaving as little space as possible at the top of each ramekin. Pour hot water into the baking dish, to the half-way point of the ramekins. Slide the baking dish into the oven.
Bake the custard for 30 to 35 minutes, depending on the specific instructions of the custard you are making. Look for the custard to wiggle a little at the top when it is finished, but it will no longer be liquid.
Remove the custard from the oven and take the ramekins out of the water. Allow them to sit for a couple of hours to cool before serving, or refrigerate them and serve cold.
- If you are adding hot milk or cream to the egg and sugar mixture, temper the process by adding small amounts of the milk at a time. Adding it all at once will shock the eggs and make them scramble.
- If a knife inserted in the center of the custard comes out clean during the baking, it is probably overcooked.
- For creme brulee, sprinkle sugar over the top and burn it with a blow torch or under the broiler just before serving, for added flair.
- Never try to make your custard without the protection of a water bath to insulate the ramekins from the direct heat of the oven. They will overcook every time and won't have the desired texture.
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