Recipe by The_Swedish_Chef
Growing up on a dairy farm in Minnesota, there were always fresh eggs available from our chickens. When eggs were especially plentiful, Grandma would always make this baked custard to "use them up." What's nice about this recipe is that the leftover 2 egg whites are wonderful to save and freeze, for use in boiled frostings or angel food cake, so nothing is wasted. This is a very "eggy" tasting, buttercup-yellow custard, which is why you're making custard, after all. I've made it with milk, Half & Half and whipping cream, but always go back to "just" milk. It keeps the dessert light and simple; when a heavier milk product is used, it becomes too heavy and too much like creme brulee, not that there's anything wrong with that! LOL But, baked egg custard should taste light, sweet, and egg-rich, with you always wanting more! We eat it warm, cool, cold. We eat it plain or with Swedish Stewed Fruit served on top. Any way that we can enjoy this baked custard, we do!
- 2 1⁄2 cups milk (I use 2% milk)
- 3 eggs
- 2 egg yolks (freeze the 2 egg whites for frosting or angel food cake)
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract (do NOT go overboard with the almond, a little goes a long way!)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch nutmeg (to be only shaken on top of the custard)
Directions See How It's Made
- NOTE: Removing hot baked custard from a hot water bath is hard! Make it easy on yourself by using a canning jar lifter with rubber grips! They are easy to find in thrift stores, at your grandmothers, or at Target for less than $7.00. If you bake a lot of custard or can, this tool is indespensible!
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Fill tea kettle with enough water to fill a 9" x 13" pan, half way up with boiling water. Bring water to boil, then turn down heat. Butter the custard cups; mine hold 5 ounces of custard or between 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup custard and yields five custard cups. Place buttered custard cups into the 9" x 13" empty pan, set aside.
- Place the 2.5 cups of milk in a large saucepan, uncovered, over medium heat. Let the milk stand in the pan, without stirring, until a skin forms on top and it is scalded. Or, if this makes you uneasy, stir the milk and continue heating until small bubbles form along the edges of the pan. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, place the eggs and yolks in a large mixing container with a pouring spout. Beat or whisk briefly, only to mix, not until they are foamy or light. (This beats too much air into the custard)
- Gradually add the sugar, vanilla and almond extracts and salt, beating only until well mixed.
- Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, slowly add 1/4 cup amounts of the hot milk to the egg mixture, stirring gently. When 1 cup of warm milk has been added into the egg mixture, add the remaining milk and stir gently. This process is called "tempering", making sure that your eggs don't "scramble" in the pan from the heat of the milk!
- Strain the mixture into a measuring cup large enough to hold 4 cups of liquid. Straining removes any lumpy egg whites and bubbles from beating. Pour 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup custard mixture into the custard cups set into the pan. Shake the smallest amount of nutmeg over each top, only to decorate and provide a hint of nutmeg.
- Make sure that the tea kettle's water is HOT! Place pan with custard cups into the oven and carefully pour the hot boiling water into the pan, going up to 1/2 of the height of the custard cups.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until a sharp knife inserted 1 inch into the middle of the custard comes out clean. Carefully remove the pan and place on a heat-proof surface. Using a jar lifter, lift each cup of custard out of the hot water and place on a wire rack to cool. Allow water in pan to cool, dump out.
- Serve warm, cool, cold. Plain or with topping of choice. Just enjoy it, however you please!