The April Custard Project Starts With A Whimper

Curdled Custard

This custard is pretty to look at. But that's all it's good for, trust me.

Maybe it’s a little disturbing that I painstakingly saved all my extra money for nine months because I missed the wonderful experience of blogging while watching crappy reality TV on Bravo. But what’s really disturbing is that I’m sitting here, blogging, watching The Real Housewives of New York City and it is absolutely amazing! The new lap top is so worth the nine months of saving!

However, I am not really here today to write about the benefits of Macs versus PCs, or even about the delayed gratification of saving up the money for a big purchase.

No, I want to talk about custard.

Because I’ve decided that custard is going to be the project for April. I had originally intended that my monthly baking projects were going to involve breads and cakes and that sort of thing, and I had lofty visions of making croissants and macarons and brioche. But given that April is an extremely busy month and I won’t have many weekends to work my baking magic, this was not the month for projects that require multiple days of preparation.

Custard was the suggestion of my good friend and fellow baking enthusiast Alice. And as soon as she suggested it I knew it would be absolutely perfect. Custard is a dessert classic and mastering it is a must for the aspiring cook, as they are used in floating islands, fruit tarts, and, of course, ice cream. As Alice put it, at most custard requires “careful pot watching,” which I can definitely do.

I had fully intended to have a recipe all ready to go for you today but my first attempt at custard didn’t work out. I wanted to make a classic, simple custard, with a fruit flavoring. So I decided to use this Epicurious recipe for orange custard that had originally been intended to be used as a tart filling. Throwing caution to the wind, I made it on its own, baking it in small custard cups in a water bath.

I thought it was a little weird that the filling was so simple – just mix together all the ingredients and bake. I should have followed my intuition because my custard curdled, and the final result was, well, less than edible.

In fact, this isn’t the first time I’ve had a difficult time with custard. There was that unfortunate incident with the unmolding of that flan . . .

Flan FAIL

Flan FAIL

So instead of giving you my own recipe, I direct you to the excellent Cannelle et Vanille, whose rhubarb flan and pistachio crumble tart and chocolate raspberry pots de creme both look like excellent ways to curb a custard craving.

As for me, I’m confident that my next custard attempt will be much better than my first. And I’m planning on following the recipe this time.

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8 Comments »

  1. rbtakemoto said

    oooo – Custard all month long??? DANGER!

    • moderndomestic said

      The power of custard is awesome.

  2. Bonnie said

    I feel your custard pain. I’ve also had hits and misses with custards. One thing I’ve learned is not to overmix the mixture so you get the little bubbles on top. Easier said than done…
    If you get tired of custards, puddings have also been making a comeback on restaurant dessert menus recently.

  3. Kaydee said

    I’ve been working on custards for ice cream making purposes and it hasn’t been going too well. The first one was too thick for the machine to freeze the second one was too thin and didn’t freeze (there may have also been too much ice cream in the machine…) Together though… they make a mighty tasty ice cream with normal-ish texture!

  4. moderndomestic said

    I think ice cream especially is tough. We got one for my mother for her birthday (I think) and the motor wasn’t actually strong enough to churn the ice cream. Do you have an electric ice cream maker or a handheld one?

    I feel like custards are challenging in general – but maybe by the end if the month I’ll feel more comfortable with them. Here’s hoping!

  5. […] you’re wondering why last week didn’t have a custard project entry – that’s […]

  6. […] leads me to the first dessert of this challenge, which is really an extension of last month’s custard project. I told you that I wanted to do a panna-cotta do-over, so I tried my hand at this version made with […]

  7. […] sad to see the April Custard Project drawing to a close. I’ve barely tapped the surface of custard; there are so many flavors, […]

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