Sunday, December 10, 2017

Proper Pouring Custard



My friend Anne Marie has been binge watching the Great British Baking Show on Netflix. I didn't even know this until we went to dinner at her house and found that we were on the same wavelength. I had brought baked apples, but also a pouring custard using a recipe of Mary Berry, one of the hosts of the show. It was called a Proper Pouring Custard, which in British-speak means it's the one to make and use to embellish the 'pudding' course, also know as dessert time. Since it was a Mary Berry recipe it was surely authentic.

A little over a year ago we were dining with our Irish cousins. The pudding was a lovely plum tart and it was served with an amazing custard sauce. Barbara said that it was a mixture of a pouring custard and whipped up heavy cream. Since the Irish have some of the best dairy products to be had, you can imagine how delicious that sauce was. I have to imagine, too, since I can no longer tolerate dairy. I'm going by the exclamations of delight, especially by Sweetie, as the sauce was devoured.


This time I made four baked apples using the recipe HERE. I used Jonagold apples because they have enough tartness to stand up to the filling and the sauce, but also because they hold their shape after being cooked. For the sauce to go with the baked apples, I used non-dairy soy creamer instead of whole milk and cream. I suspect that it meant a thinner sauce, but it was still delicious. Of course the thinner sauce might have been created by whisking in about 3 tablespoons of good bourbon. Hard to say.

I had wanted to add whipped cream for the sauce for the other diners, but I made the sauce too late in the day and it was still pretty hot when we left the house. Any whipped cream I added then would have just melted. Might try it again some other day to see if it in any way comes close to the Irish standard. Even without the whipped cream, it was smooth, delicious and took the baked apples to another level...a higher one. There will likely be leftover sauce, but it is fine over brownies, pound cake, gingerbread, fruit compote...you get the idea. Would probably also be a great sauce over pancakes or waffles, especially if you included some fruit in or over the baked breakfast goodies.

Proper Pouring Custard
Mary Berry's with some substitutions of mine
makes about 2 1/2 cups

1 pint (2 cups, 570 ml) milk (I used plain soy creamer) 
2 oz heavy cream ( 55 ml) (I just used more of the soy creamer) 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg yolks
2 teaspoons cornstarch / cornflour
1 oz (30 grams) granulated sugar / caster sugar

In a small pot, over very low heat, heat the milk, cream and vanilla until it just starts to simmer.

While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks and the cornstarch together in a small bowl. Add the egg yolks and whisk until well blended.

When milk has just started to simmer, scoop about a half cup of it out of the pot and whisk it into the egg mixture, then pour the egg mixture into the hot milk, whisking all the while. Once the two mixtures are thoroughly blended, stir with a wooden spoon, constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 5-8 minutes. Don't let the mixture boil.

Once thickened, pour into a bowl or serving jug and cover the top surface with plastic wrap / clingfilm to keep a skin from forming as the sauce cools.

Optional: after sauce has cooled a bit, remove the plastic wrap and whisk in 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup bourbon or Irish whiskey until blended. Replace the plastic wrap and continue to let the sauce cool.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

December Tea Party


It's already December 6th. I'm glad that 2017 is almost at an end. It has been a difficult year with too many wonderful people lost to death or saddled with illnesses, along with the October fires which have changed things so much in our community.

The good news is that I was able to have a nice Tea Party yesterday with Natashya, my Sacramento area sister. Sweetie spent some time with us and enjoyed one of the Pecan Tarts with a little whipped cream. He made a cute face when we told him that he had cream on his mustache.

We started with savories, including a store bought quiche for N and hummus and carrots for me. All three of us enjoyed the Avocado Toasts with Smoked Salmon and the fruit mixture of strawberries and kiwi fruit.

Next there were Currant Scones, accompanied by raspberry jam and whipped cream. Lots of Earl Gray tea was poured during all of this and the conversation ranged over many areas as good conversation does.

Then we got to the really sweet part with Pecan Tarts. More whipped cream was available to top them if you chose to do that. More tea was poured. More conversation.

Last we had the birthday cake...Natashya's birthday was in late November, so we only had to move the feast a short ways. It was a purchased Chocolate Rum loaf. Since that had butter, I had a couple of tiny vegan chocolate tarts instead...more tea...more conversation.

It really was a lovely afternoon. Happy Birthday Natashya!


We'll start with the recipe for the Avocado Toasts with Smoked Salmon:
Makes six toasts

Six slices baguette, between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick, toasted
1 avocado, ripe
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste (I only used pepper since the salmon is salty)
enough thinly sliced smoked salmon to cover the slices (not sure of the weight)
Optional- a few Italian parsley leaves.

Place the toasted baguette slices on a clean work surface.

Cut the avocado in half. Peel and remove the seed. Mash both halves in a small bowl. Add the lemon juice and mash it into the avocados. I used a fork, which worked well. Make it as chunky or smooth as you prefer.

Spoon the avocado mixture evenly dividing it between the toast slices. Spread out to cover the slices. Sprinkle with salt and/or pepper. Top each slice with one layer of smoked salmon.

If desired, garnish with a single Italian parsley leaf