Hi folks, this is a late post about the "Tuesdays with Dorie" choice of the week for March 10, 2009 -- the Lemon Cup Custards, chosen by Bridget of The Way the Cookie Crumbles. Bridget, I want to thank you for choosing this recipe, especially since it got a number of negative comments on the P&Q section. While it isn't going to end up on my list of all-time Dorie favorites, it was tasty, and I was very glad to have the chance to try this recipe and find out more about making custard!
I went for the Orange-Star Anise flavoring variation. (Actually, it was a tangelo, not an orange. Close enough.) I replaced 2 tablespoons of the milk with the same amount of heavy cream, for extra richness. (We love our butterfat!) I cut the recipe in half but left the zest, star anise, and orange extract amounts the same, based on some of the reports in the P&Q section.
I strained out the tangelo zest as per instructions, but it looked so pretty and flavorful that I changed my mind and stirred it back in again! The zest ended up all sinking down to the bottom of the custards. This would have been kind of a nice effect for a flan, or a custard that was going to be unmolded and served upside down, but I didn't like it as well for a plain cup custard. Tasted fine, though. Live and learn!
I had 4 smaller custard cups to bake for my half-recipe, and they ended up taking only about 25-30 minutes until they were just a bit jiggly. At this point I made a mistake -- I took them out of the oven, but left them in the water bath to cool for about 15 more minutes. By the time I took them out, they were firm. The final texture was OK, but a bit more firm than I would have liked.
The flavoring was pretty subtle despite having increased the amount of flavorings. And yes, it was a bit eggy, but hey, this is custard! The texture was good and would have been perfect if I hadn't left them in the water bath. Adding a flavorful topping made them really, really good. I used home-canned mandarin orange segments in syrup and brandy. Yummy, yummy, yummy!
I'm sure the custards would have been even better if I hadn't overcooked them. However, I don't think this is going to become my go-to baked custard recipe. Actually, I don't have a go-to baked custard recipe. Any suggestions? I think we want something more rich, creamy, decadent and flavorful. Still, I'm grateful for the experience and the chance to find out more about baked custards.