Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Raspberry Custard Tart

My Mountain Man is originally from Luxembourg (the biggest of the smallest countries, located between Germany, France and Belgium).  But I digress.  One of Johny's favorite deserts is a fruit & custard tart, a common pie in Europe.  So today I decided to try my own interpretation of it.

Overall a simple recipe, you will need a pie crust, custard, and fresh fruit.

Prepare your pie crust to create a small edge (you can use a tart pan, but I don't have one) and bake according to the directions.  I use a pre-made crust, saves time, though some day I will master crust making!

Make your custard.  I used the Doubleday Cookbook, Volume 2, Stirred Custard or Custard Sauce recipe (excellent cook book by the way). 

I looked up How to Scald Milk on the Internet, as the recipe calls for scalded milk. Easy to do, heat the milk up to near boiling, 180 degrees, then let cool a bit. If you don't have a thermometer, when you begin to see bubbles along the edge, and the milk steaming, it is done.

Stirred Custard

2 cups of milk, scalded
5 tablespoons sugar
pinch salt
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat milk, sugar, and salt in the top of a double boiler over direct, moderate heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  A double boiler is important because the water helps dissipate the heat for even cooking.  I made my own using one bigger pot for the water and a smaller one to sit on top; it's important to be sure the top pot will sit steadily on the larger pot without you holding it.

Spoon a little hot mixture into yolks (this will temper the yolks to keep from cooking),
return to pan, set over simmering water, and cook and stir 2 - 3 minutes until thickened and no raw egg taste remains. 

Mix in vanilla and serve hot or cool quickly by setting pan in ice water and stirring briskly (I want mine cool to put in the pie crust).
A very important note: you must use whole milk, the fat is necessary for the custard to thicken, a lesson I learned the hard way.  My custard would not thicken.  So I decided to add a little (4 teaspoons or so) tapioca that I ground using my spice grinder (a coffee grinder I use only for spices).  I put my custard liquid back on the burner (directly, no double boiler this time) on medium heat and added the tapioca, and whisked away.  Viola, thickened tapioca custard.  You can see the tapioca in the custard, so it is not as smooth as custard usually is, but hey, I saved it, right? 

To finish, immediately before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Did we like it?  Yes!  We served it following a dinner with our friend John, and everyone enjoyed it.  For myself, I still want to master the custard part of it, though my tapioca save worked!  I'm proud of myself for having enough kitchen knowledge to have rescued the custard soup I started with.  Next time, whole milk for a thick custard!

Do you have any custard know-how you are willing to share  Please do!

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