Thursday, February 17, 2011


Making custard will humble you. Custards are found from banana cream pie filling to cheese sauce for mac and cheese.

The difficulty in making a custard is tempering eggs.

Eggs in solution scramble if they are brought up in temperature too quickly.

There are two main methods of tempering.

The Zen Way of Custard:
Put all the ingredients in the pot (including the eggs). Beat to mix completely. Turn on a medium-low light. Stir continuously until the solution thickens. This could take 10 minutes or more of continuous stirring, depending on how much you're making.

The Lazy Person's Custard:
Put the milk and other ingredients (except the eggs) in the pot. Cook, stirring once in a while, until the mixture comes up to a near simmer. Separately, beat the eggs and add a little bit of cold milk to them. Then, while stirring the milk-egg mixture continuously, slowly, slowly and in parts add the hot milk mixture. If you add too much at one time, it will scramble! Once the temperature of the mixture has equalized, put it in the original pot, back on the flame, and again, cook on medium-low until the mixture thickens. This will take significantly less time than the Zen Way.

Either way, there is a lot of stirring involved in making custard, even for a Lazy Person. I would recommend trying to zone out while your arm does the work. This is tough if you have things going on other burners or in the stove. I would recommend doing all your prep first, that way you are not contemplating grating cheese and stirring the pot at the same time.

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