Friday, March 10, 2017

Vanilla Custards: A Classic in any Time Period

Vanilla Custards

Recipe Provenance
The following recipe comes from a collection of recipes found in a manuscript journal located in the H. Furlong Baldwin Library at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. The manuscript is attributed to Ann Maria Morris and the date of 1824 is written on the inside cover. The recipe below is one of many from the manuscript that will be included in a book I am writing. The book will contain biographical information about Mrs. Morris, an annotated transcript of the entire manuscript as it was written, and a section of modern recipe adaptations (including this one!).

The Recipe: Custards
Boil a quart of new milk with Vanilla, or lemon, until it is suffciently seasoned. beat the yelks of 12 eggs very well with a quarter lb. of sifted sugar. Pour the hot milk out of the kettle, on the eggs~sugar in another vessel, stirring it all the time to prevent its curdling. --- pour all again in the kettle, set it on the fire and continue stirring until it thickens take it off & stir until it cools.

Modern Recipe Adaptation: Vanilla Custards
Serves  6

  • 1 Vanilla Bean
  • 4 Cups Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 8 Whole Eggs

  1. Heat oven to 325º F. Place six 4-ounce ramekins in a large casserole dish.
  2. Slit the vanilla bean in half and scrape out all of the seeds.
  3. Place the milk, vanilla bean seeds & pod, and the sugar in a large saucepan. Place on the stove over medium-high heat. Cook until the the temperature reaches just below the boil and then remove from the heat.
  4. While the milk is heating, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks in a medium-size bowl.
  5. Temper the eggs into the milk by ladling about 1 cup of the milk mixture into the eggs and whisk together. Then add the egg mixture into the saucepan with the milk. Whisk together.
  6. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
  7. Pour the vanilla custard into the ramekins that are sitting in the casserole dish.
  8. Pour enough boiling water into the casserole dish so that it reaches about half-way up the height of the ramekins. Place in the oven and bake for about 26-28 minutes, or until the custard is set and firm.
  9. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight until completely cold. 

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