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Lemon Cup Custard March 12, 2009

It seems that anyone who loves baking knows about Tuesdays with Dorie.  This is a group of bakers who take turns

Lemon Cup Custard

Lemon Cup Custard

 each week choosing recipes from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours.  After they all make the recipe, they share it and their comments on their own blogs.  I had been eyeing this cookbook in the book store for awhile now, but I as I notoriously never look at the author (terrible of me, I know, after all the work they put into them), I didn’t know the significance of this particular book.  As soon as I put two and two together, I ran out to get it…okay I waited for a 30% off coupon from Borders , but still…

 

Although I am not a member, I have been wanting to try the recipes from Tuesdays with Dorie and now that I have the book, here’s my first attempt: Lemon Cup Custard.

I had read on other blogs that the custard was eggy and not very lemony so I made a few adjustments.  First, I decided to half the recipe.  I wasn’t sure of how successful this would be so I didn’t want to waste any.  I didn’t half the lemon zest.  I kept that as is and added 1/4 teaspoon of lemon extract in hopes of making the custard more lemony.  I also steeped the zest for much longer than the 30 minutes it called for in the recipe.  Also, I decided not to strain out the lemon zest when adding the milk.  Although I was worried what this might do to the texture, I was really hoping to add some zing to the custard.

The results, in my opinion, are mixed.  I didn’t think it was very eggy at all.  Maybe it was because I expected it to be or maybe because it is a custard and custard is supposed to be, well, eggy.  The texture was very smooth and creamy, although, like I feared, this was disturbed by the zest.  Luckily, though, most of the zest rose to the top.  Unfortunately, despite all my efforts, it didn’t turn out very lemony at all.  My husband actually liked the subtle lemon flavor.  I would have preferred more tartness to it.  So, I guess my conclusion is that the execution was successful.  The custard itself was good and a super, super easy recipe to make.  If you’ve never made a custard before, this would be a good one with which to start.  The book offers a few different variations and you could definately come up with your own.  Personally, next time I make this, I will definately add more extract or something to bring out that lemon flavor more.

Lemon Cup Custard

From Baking From My House to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

2 1/4 cups whole milk (I used skim and it turned out fine)

Grated zest from one lemon

4 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

Pure lemon oil or lemon extract (I used 1/4 teaspoon for half this recipe)

Have six 6-ounce custard or coffee cups at hand.  Put the milk and zest in a saucepan and bring just to a boil.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Cover and set aside for 30 minutes so the zest can infuse the milk with its flavore.  Reheat the milk before mixing the custard.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line a roasting pan with a double thickness of paper towels and put the custard or coffee cups in the pan.  Have a fine-mesh strainer at hand.  Fill a teakettle with water and put on to boil.  When the water boils, turn off the heat.

In a 1-quart glass measuring cup or a heatproof bowl, whisk the eggs adn sugar together until well blended.  Still whisking, strain in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk little by little — this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they won’t curdle.  Whisking all the while, slowly strain in the remaining milk.  Discard the zest remaining in the strainer.  If you’d like a stronger lemon flavor stir in a few drops of lemon oil or extract into the custard.  Don’t go overboard — 1/8 teaspoon extract, less if you’re using oil, is about all you’ll need.

With a spoon, skim the foam off the top of the custard, then pour the custard into the cups.  Very carefully slid the roasting pan into the oven, then pour enough hot water from the teakettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cups.

Bake the custards for 40-45 minutes, or until they jiggle only in the center when you tap the cups lightly.  Transfer the custard to a reack and cool to room temperature then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

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