Thanks to a goose who decided to lay eggs out of season, custard has become a household staple this fall. I’ve been told it’s not unheard of for a goose to lay in the fall, but this girl is being ridiculous, and has been giving me two or three eggs a week since the beginning of October. So, I’ve got goose eggs, chicken eggs, and plenty of milk from my herd share.
Custard is one of my husband’s comfort foods, and he claims mine is the best he’s had — even better than his mom’s! It’s pretty simple, but there are a couple of tricks. It’s important that you know your exact oven temp (most people don’t realize their oven isn’t properly calibrated). I use an inexpensive little oven thermometer I picked up at a hardware store. My oven has to be set to 395 to actually reach 350. Another trick is interpreting the “jiggle” when the custard is done.
1 goose egg (or 3 chicken eggs)
3/4 cup sugar
2-3 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups whole milk
Preheat oven to 350F. Thoroughly combine all ingredients, making sure sugar is completely dissolved. Pour custard mixture through a fine mesh sieve into custard cups (this ensures that you won’t have any weird unincorporated eggy spots, and guarantees a smooth, silky texture). Place custard cups in a shallow baking pan, and pour hot water into the pan to at least 3/4 the way up the sides of the custard cups. Bake for 28 minutes. Yup, 28 minutes in my particular oven. If I go 29 minutes, it’s overcooked.
You may need to adjust your baking time based on your individual oven, so it really helps to learn to interpret the jiggle.
It’s very easy to over-bake custard. If it’s over-baked, instead of being silky and creamy, it will have light rubbery/eggy texture. Also, some of the liquid will separate from the mixture, contributing a watery texture.
When you take it out, it should jiggle like loose jello, and you will swear it’s not done. Also, if you insert a knife and it comes out clean … it’s over done. However, if you chill it in the fridge overnight, it will set up to a nice creamy consistency. Personally, I like to let it chill a good 24 hours for the best texture. It’s amazing how many recipes on the interwebs call for baking for almost an hour, or until a knife comes out clean. With the amount of misinformation out there, it’s no wonder so many cooks are intimidated by custard.
Sprinkle with a light grating of fresh nutmeg right before serving. And….. the custard was gone before I finished putting away my camera.