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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

TWD: Lemon Cup Custard

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This week's TWD recipe seems to have caused a lot of consternation among my baking colleagues. Many of them lamented that Dorie's Lemon Cup Custard was just too "eggy". I kind of don't get that, because this recipe is for an egg custard, which by its very definition should tip you off that it is eggy. Some were disappointed that this custard wasn't more like a creme brulee or even a flan. But, it isn't a creme brulee or a flan. It is an egg custard, and, I thought it was a very nice one too. Now, I've had many egg custards over the years that were not so nice. Instead of having a lovely light and silky texture, like this one, they were slippery and slimy, sliding right off of my spoon before ever reaching my mouth. Dorie's custard wasn't like that - at least not for me.

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The recipe for these custard cups is super easy. Milk is heated and allowed to steep with fresh lemon zest. The milk is then strained and whisked into some eggs beaten with sugar, after which it is baked in a water bath. That's it. Couldn't be simpler! No Kitchenaid mixer. No gobs of butter. No breaking out every bowl in your kitchen. No huge mess to clean up. For these reasons alone, I loved this dessert!

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I did tweak this recipe a little bit after reading what some of the other TWDers had to say. I used half and half instead of milk, which I'm sure contributed to the extra richness and firmness of my custard. I also infused half of the liquid with some fresh ginger, because I think lemon and ginger make a nice combination. I did add a few drops of lemon oil to the custard mixture too, as suggested by Dorie, which to be honest, didn't really add a whole lot of extra lemon flavor. I topped my lemon-ginger custards with crystallized ginger, and my plain lemon custards with some candied kumquats that I had made with kumquats from my tree.

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As I mentioned above, these custard cups were light and silky smooth. The lemon factor was very subtle. Using only the zest and none of the lemon juice eliminated any tartness. I thought that they were perfect for what they were meant to be - a simple and elegant little dessert.

Many thanks to Bridget from The Way the Cookie Crumbles for choosing this recipe for us this week. It was a welcome change from all of the rich, heavy, labor-intensive stuff we've been making. If you'd like to try this one at home, Bridget has the recipe posted here. And, as always, you can see lots more Lemon Cup Custards on the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll.

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45 comments:

Jennifer said...

Wow, you have a kumquat tree? That's soooo... exotic!
I did think mine were a bit "eggy" tasting, but I agree with you, I think the recipe was good, it just wasn't to my taste. (Not that they tasted bad, they just didn't taste great to me)

SiHaN said...

they sure look elegant alright? great job.

Emily said...

Looks fabulous! I think I'd enjoy an egg custard.

Excuuuuuse me.. did you say you have a kumquat tree?? I'm so jealous!

Peter M said...

A simple, elegant dessert...a beauty...getting a spoon now...

Rachel said...

I love your ginger and kumquat garnishes--so pretty!

Jillian said...

Very nice!

Marthe said...

Your custards look soooo good!! I started my diet last week and am only allowing myself one bite of everything I bake, I bring the rest into work. Since custards are a bit difficult to bring to work and bringing only 6 custards for about 20 colleagues would cause a riot I decided not to make these....

Emily Rose said...

I also thought this recipe was a success! I don't like custards at all- but I knew this going into the recipe so I was pleased with the results because it really did turn out exactly like it should have!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A gorgeous dessert! These custards look fantastic!

Cheers,

Rosa

Heather B said...

Looks great! I'll have to try this again with half and half! Thanks!

J.Danger said...

yes, the comments were all over the place this week! You summed it up nicely!

The Duo Dishes said...

Mmmmmmmm, anything with citrus and that has a creamy consistency is destined to be good.

Donna said...

This is almost exactly the recipe I use to make egg custard. I use whole milk. And like you said, egg custards are a little eggy.
I grew up on this along with bread pudding and rice pudding and to this day, if I am sick or if I want a "comfort" food this is what I would choose.

pinkstripes said...

All your additions/tweaks sound great. I love kumquats. I love ginger. Your custards look wonderful.

Cathy said...

Your presentation is beautiful -- your custards are so pretty and elegant. Unfortunately, I made a couple of mistakes and ended up with a slippery/slimy finished product. I think if I could try one of yours I'd become a custard lover!

kim said...

beautiful custards! the ginger sounds tasty. i liked these too, very simple and wholesome :)

vibi said...

Way to go Susan! Two thumbs up! I loved that custard, it was everything I expected and more... for I even doubled the lemon zest AND added the lemon oil... what a dream! I betya... many expected custard like Jell-o custard! But then again... all tastes are in the nature! I'm sure yours were just as nice... as they are beautiful! Very nice crisp, clean and classy pictures, too!

Ingrid said...

I think I'd like 'em. Nice to read about someone really diggin' these.
~ingrid

Bwt, how come I'm the only person in FL that doesn't have some kinda fruit tree? Whatsup wit dat?! :-)

doughmesstic said...

Dear Lord, you have a kumquat tree. A kumquat tree! They don't even sell those at our supermarket. Can't say I have ever had one, but they sure look pretty on your eggy cutard. :)

Now, as for those chocolate cups of mine - Target. Got them at target months ago. i assume they still have them - they are really cute and would be delish with mousse - ooh peanut butter mouse, or nutella mousse ...mmmm.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

I'm so happy to hear that many of you actually liked these custards too! I really thought that they were a nice change of pace. Using half and half definitely made them creamier.

Ingrid- I just got that tree about 6 months ago. It isn't very big, so I was pleasantly surprised to have fruit so soon. I found the tree at a tropical plant fair. I also picked up lychee, kaffir lime and persimmon trees as well. Still waiting for them to bear fruit tho.

Doughmesstic- Thank you! You're a doll! I will pop on down to Target and look for those cups. I can think of lots of ways to use them.

AmyRuth said...

Your photos are so nice. I am a custard lover. On the subject of the "egg-o-meter" I thing these were mild. The gentle hint of lemon sort of smoothed it out. If they are not over baked then they are not rubbery. So all things considered the flavor and texture were nice. I love your ginger and kumquat complements to your custard. Beautiful!
AmyRuth

Elyse said...

Mmm, I love the idea of the ginger lemon custard. What a wonderful flavor combination!! I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe. Your custards turned out just beautifully!

Nina Timm said...

I agree...you don't like eggy taste, don't make eggy custard!!! Great photos and your custards look delish!!

The Food Librarian said...

Yum! Yours looks great! Love the ginger addition - I love ginger and lemon.

Natashya said...

Looks great! I love the ginger addition.

5 Star Foodie said...

This custard looks fantastic - very light and so elegant!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

looks good! a kumquat tree--you lucky duck!

Big Boys Oven said...

the lemon custard looks awesomely wanting and delicous

Sara said...

Nice job. I love your custard cups!

onlinepastrychef said...

This simple little egg custard sounds perfect! I'm such a custard fan, I even liked the big pans the lunch ladies made in the cafeteria back when I was in elementary school:D

MaryBeth said...

Very simple yet you have made it very elegant and upscale..Looks wonderful.

noble pig said...

Yeah it's like when you make garlic chicken and someone says it's too garlicky. WTH right?

Well it's definitely beautiful!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I love your "kisses". Adorable!

Tracey said...

Your custard looks wonderful! I also enjoyed that this week's recipe was so simple and didn't create a ton of dirty dishes.

Jescel said...

i love egg custards.. and this just looks fabulous!!

Teanna said...

Stop it! You have a kumquat tree?!?! Where do you live! I am so jealous! I absolutely love your photos!

Tangled Noodle said...

I have no issues with egg-y custards but I really appreciate your tips for a richer, firmer texture. These look lovely!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Looks good to me. You're right. A baked custard isn't the same thing as a flan and people shouldn't expect it to be. I like your addition of ginger.

CookiePie said...

Looks beautiful!! I always use half and half in puddings and custards -- it really does make a big difference. And I love that you added ginger -- perfect combo!

TeaLady said...

Custard is custard. The lemon was a little light on flavor, but adding the lemon oil/extract would help a lot. I actually like custard and yours look wonderful.

Manggy said...

I love that spooned-out shot. I can see how beautifully silky and smooth the custard is! :)

Jules Someone said...

Just lovely! Kumquat is such a fun word to say.

Sophie said...

Wow!! How lovely!! i bet it tasted sublime!!! MMMMMMMMMMM....

Engineer Baker said...

Oh wow - lemon and ginger were meant for each other - brilliant! And you hit the nail on the head; my least favorite texture for food is slippery. That's what I was afraid of - that this custard would be slimy. Luckily, it wasn't :) Great job!

Kevin said...

That lemon custard looks so good!