Good morning. It is a beautiful morning here on the farm, I have been out watering the apple trees and while I was out there I picked myself a handful of apricots and mulberries for breakfast and I thought, instead of having them with yogurt I would show you how to make a traditional, but non-dairy, egg custard.
Doesn’t that look great? That is my idea of a perfect breakfast.
So. Custards. Custards are something that scare people in the kitchen, and it is not necessary, I am going to show you a couple of tips to de-scarify them. Oh! I should have taken you a video! I completely forgot, Cookie House tadpole Emma, bought me an iPad holder for Horrowitzmas so that I can take videos for you. Next time.
1 teaspoon tapioca starch (or cornflour)
1 tablespoon sugar or equivalent sweetener
1 and 1/4 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
1 teaspoon vanilla
freshly grated nutmeg
Now, if you want to make this as a traditional custard, just sub out the tapioca starch for cornflour and the almond milk for regular milk, easy peasy.
Pop everything apart from the nutmeg into a medium sized pot.
And give it all a good bang around with a whisk.
Now, this is important, I want you to look at this custard mixture. See how frothy and bubbly it is? I want you to watch those bubbles as we go along as they are the first indicator that our custard is almost ready.
So we put the pot on the stove top on a low heat, I used 2 out of 9, but then put it up to 3 when I decided I was too hungry to wait that long. Keep it moving with your whisk, making sure you are scraping the bottom of every bit of the pot, tip the pot to the side every now and then to make sure it is not sticking anywhere. Okay, we have been stirring for a couple of minutes, let’s have a look at those bubbles.
Still frothy, keep stirring. When a custard is ready it is too heavy to hold a froth, put in kitchen sciencey terms, its relative viscosity is too high to easily aerate, that means it is thickening.
Keep stirring. Now?
No, not yet, keep stirring. Now?
Yes, that is getting there. Onto high alert now, the egg proteins are beginning to denature and this is where you get to decide whether you are having custard with your fruit, or scrambled eggs. Whisk, whisk, whisk, but not too quickly, more just to keep everything moving. As soon as the custard begins to coat the walls of the pot as it swirls in the wake of the whisk, or if at any point it begins to bubble, off the heat it comes, the tapioca (or corn) starch does help stabilise it a bit so if it does start to simmer you have time to get it off the heat.
Pass it through a sieve, when I was at trade school one of my lecturers, Tommy, told me that chefs never use a sieve, well, I do, you will almost always find a few little congealed proteins, I find those unpleasant to eat, so let us ignore Tommy and run this through a sieve.
Just as I thought, a couple of little bibs and bobs, I don’t like chewy bits in my custard, so the sieve can have those.
Top with freshly grated nutmeg and ta-da! You made a custard! Don’t worry if it looks a little thin, it will thicken as it cools, if you want it thicker next time just reduce the milk a little.
I have piled in a heap of fruit, mulberries and apricots from the orchard, pitted cherries, raspberries and blueberries from the shop.
Come join me for breakfast, we can easily whip up another bowl. Xxm