Sunday, March 22, 2009

TWD Late Report: Orange-Star Anise Cup Custard

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.


Fit Chick said...

Hi Barbara, welcome back! Hope you had a great time. Glad you enjoyed the custard, wasn't my favorite but at least tried it.

Carol Peterman said...

Orange star anise sounds like a delicious flavor and your home-canned mandarins look great. I like the custard because it wasn't overly rich, but I can completely understand not being wild about the lightness of it. This flavor combo applied to a crème brulee or pots de crème would probably send you over the moon!