How to make custard

A good custard should be velvety and (if baked) firm. But don’t overcook it-this can cause the eggs to curdle. Some recipes call for scalded milk; you can substitute cool milk provided it’s pasteurized. Hot milk, however, shortens the cooking time. Stirred (or boiled) custard This is a soft custard, generally served as a sauce. In the top of a double boiler, combine 4 lightly beaten egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups milk. Stir constantly over simmering water until the sauce leaves a thick coating on the spoon; don’t let it boil. Remove the pan from the heat; beat the sauce for a minute or two as it cools. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Should the custard begin to curdle while cooking, you maybe able to save it by immediately pouring it into a cool bowl and beating it vigorously. Baked custard

Preheat oven to 325F Heat 2 cups milk. Meanwhile, beat lightly 2 whole eggs plus 1 yolk, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Slowly beat the hot milk into the egg mixture, then add 1 teaspoon vanilla and, if desired, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Pour the custard into five or six 5-ounce custard cups or a 1-quart baking dish. Set the cups or dish in a pan with hot water halfway up their sides. Bake for about 1 hour or until a knife inserted midway between the center and the edge comes out clean; the center will finish cooking while the custard cools. Creme caramel

In a heavy-bottomed pan on low heat, melt 1/2 cup sugar in 2 tablespoons water, stirring constantly until the mixture turns thick and golden (8 to 10 minutes); do not boil or it will bum. Quickly pour the caramelized sugar into custard cups, a baking dish, or a metal flan mold; rotate the container to spread the caramel evenly over the bottom. Fill with baked custard mixture; bake, cool, then chill thoroughly. To unmold, run a knife around the edge of the custard, set a dish or serving plate over it, and quickly turn the mold upside down.