It’s no secret that I love sweet things. It therefore shouldn’t surprise anyone that one of my favourite Christmas traditions is dessert focussed. Or more specifically, custard focussed. As a kid, I didn’t like plum pudding, so Christmas dessert was just a bowl full of custard. I have fond memories of making an enormous vat of custard with the family on Christmas day and indulging in bowlfuls of custard with my cousins, sans pudding.
These days I happily enjoy pudding and brandy butter, but the dousing in custard is mandatory. This Christmas, I was slated to lunch with the in-laws. When I found out that custard isn’t ordinarily part of their Christmas day spread, I happily volunteered to bring some along.
I tracked down a simple recipe for custard on the Gourmet Traveller Australia site. The recipe said that it serves 6. I planned to make the custard do double time, serving it for Christmas eve dinner with friends and taking it along to Christmas lunch. Total number of guests needing custard was 26, so I initially planned to triple the recipe. Then Mr M came home with enough cream, milk and eggs to quadruple the recipe. Perfect!
Hesitations about the quantity of custard began when I saw the debris from 24 eggs. Yes, 24 eggs:
I realised I had a serious custard problem when I was in the final stages of the recipe and there was enough custard to fill my enormous pasta pot to the brim. I chilled the mixture down, then decanted it into some milk bottles for easy transportation…
4 litres. 4 litres!
I duly served the custard on Christmas eve to friends and at Christmas lunch. Despite my heavy handed pushing of the custard, and leading by example in eating it by the bowlful, after the two events I had close to 2 litres left. I palmed some custard off to W, took some to Christmas dinner and still took about 500ml home after all Christmas activities were finished.
So the lesson to be learnt is – you can have too much custard. And when a recipe suggests 1 litre for 6 people, that does not hold for Christmas day. A rough working guide would be about 1L for 15 or so people, and you may have some left over.
1 vanilla bean
6 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
- Place milk, cream and seeds from vanilla bean in a heavy based saucepan and heat to just below boiling.
- Separate eggs and place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl.
- Whisk egg yolks and sugar until very thick and pale.
- Slowly pour hot cream mixture over the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously. Go very slowly, this is the scary part where the mixture may split (hence no photos!)
- Pour the custard into a clean saucepan and cook, stirring continuously until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Strain the custard into a bowl over iced water and allow to cool completely. I kept whisking the custard until it was cool (again, fear of splitting!)
- Decant into a container and refrigerate until required.
- To serve, gently reheat the custard in a saucepan, stirring constantly. Or you could just eat it cold. Enjoy!