Saturday, March 12, 2011

Starve a cold, feed a fever

or... is it feed a cold, starve a fever?

Well, how 'bout I just eat.

When I'm sick (as I am now, sadly), the only thing I really want is pudding. Pudding is tasty, it's soothing on a sore throat, and it's what my mom always used to make me when I was sick as a kid, so it's nostalgic. Mom's recipe is very quick and easy, but tastes so much better than anything in a plastic cup or a little box, which means that a sick person can handle making it.

This time around, I just happened to have a surplus of milk and eggs that I needed to use the day before I got sick, so, having no idea how knocked out I'd be the next day, I decided I wanted some fancy custard. When I needed something cold and soothing the next day, I was very pleased with my pudding decision.

Creme Caramel
from Cooking Light, October 2008

I halved the recipe.

for the custard:
2 cups 2% milk
1t vanilla paste, 2t vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean (I went with the paste)
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
dash of salt
1T heavy cream

for the caramel:
1/2 cup sugar
2T water

For the custard:
Preheat oven to 225F.
In a medium saucepan, combine milk and vanilla and cook over medium heat until tiny bubbles just start to form around the edges. Meanwhile, beat eggs together with 1/3 cup sugar and salt. Once the milk is ready, remove from heat and whisk in a 1/2 cup of the milk mixture into the eggs, then another 1/2 cup and a third 1/2 cup- this is tempering the eggs, making sure they don't scramble when you add the hot milk to them. Add the entire milk mixture to the eggs and whisk until well combined. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a small saucepan, combine the water and 1/2 cup sugar. Stir while the sugar dissolves, then cook over medium-high heat without stirring, until the sugar turns a caramel-y brown.

Spray 5 6oz ramekins (or whatever you have, note the the cooking time will change with larger ramekins) with non-stick cooking spray, arrange on a cookie sheet, and divide the caramel among each dish. Now divide the custard among each cup, and transfer (carefully!) to the oven. Bake at 225F for 2 hours, until they're set. Let the custards cool at room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.

To serve, run a knife along the edge of the ramekin to loosen the custard, and invert on a plate.

This was my first success with creme caramel. I tried it once before, and it was a huge fail- probably because I was too impatient to let it chill overnight and it fell apart when I tried to get the custard out of the dish. I also added chipotle, which I liked, but Clint didn't... at all. So I'm sticking with this Cooking Light recipe! It's so nice and light and soothing on my poor throat, and delicious for non-sick people.

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