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.
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!
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.
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.