Friday, September 16, 2005

SHF #12: Cooked Up Custard

In his safety control room, Homer pokes at all the donuts... [poking at each jelly donut in turn] [poke] Igh, lemon. [poke] Ugh, cherry. [poke] Ooh, custard. [poke] Mmmmm.... purple... -- Homer, enjoying the finer things in life, ``Homer Defined''

Hosted by Elise of Simply Recipes, the theme of this month's Sugar High Friday is Cooking up Custard. Rich, creamy custard. I was almost tempted by Homer Simpson's love for custard filled donuts in my search for an entry. But I chose to make a dish that was one of the first "real desserts" I ever baked on my own in my mother's kitchen: flan.
Prior to attempting that first flan, I had mostly baked cookies and cakes from boxed mixes. And I baked them a lot. Looking back, I don't remember exactly why I chose flan, but I do know that my mom played a part in my decision: she said that flan was too difficult and that I shouldn't bother trying it. Let me tell you that she was wrong. That flan turned out wonderfully and so did this one.
This time, I used the Perfect Flan recipe from Bon Appetit. The only change I made was to infuse the caramel with vanilla as well as infusing the custard.
Don't be intimidated by flan. Making the custard is easy, in large part because the cream cools slightly before you combine it with the eggs; the risk of curdling is quite low. The caramel doesn't have to be cooked to a specific temperature, just make it a dark amber and pour it into ramekins. Boil water in a kettle for the water bath and bake. Refrigerate. Eat.
And while you're eating, why don't you check out the other custardy delights in this month's roundup?