Practically no skill is required in the preparation of baked CUSTARD, but care must be taken during the baking in order that the right temperature be applied for the proper length of time. CUSTARD of this kind is quickly made and finds favor with most persons. It may be baked in individual baking dishes and then served in these or it may be cooked in a large baking dish and served either before or after it is placed on the table. Individual baking dishes are perhaps more satisfactory, for, as there is a smaller amount of material, the heat can penetrate more quickly and evenly to the center. Whatever kind of dish is used, however, should be placed in a pan of warm water, so that the CUSTARD will bake evenly. The water in the pan should not boil, as this tends to make the CUSTARD whey, or separate.
Several tests can be applied to CUSTARD to determine whether it is sufficiently baked. As the heat penetrates to the center last, this part is the last to cook and it is therefore the place where the testing should be done. One test consists in touching the center with the tip of the finger to find out whether it is firm or not. A more common test, however, is shown in Fig. 1. To perform this test, the blade of a silver knife is inserted in the center, as illustrated. If the blade comes out clean, it may be known that the CUSTARD is sufficiently baked, but if the mixture sticks to the knife, the CUSTARD requires more baking. Before the knife blade is inserted, however, the skin that covers the CUSTARD must be broken; if this is not done, the skin is sure to cling to the knife.
24. The chief requirement of a successful CUSTARD is that its texture be right, and the temperature at which the baking is done is largely responsible for this point. Too high a temperature or too long cooking will cause the CUSTARD to curdle and leave the edges full of holes. A smoother texture may be obtained if egg yolks alone instead of the yolks and whites are used to thicken the CUSTARD. The proportions given in the accompanying recipe make a CUSTARD of very good texture, but if a greater proportion of eggs is used, the result will be a firmer, harder CUSTARD.
(Sufficient to Serve Four)
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tb. sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 c. milk
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Beat the eggs slightly, add the sugar and salt, and continue beating while adding the milk. Add the vanilla. Pour into a buttered baking dish or individual baking dishes, place in a moderately hot oven in a pan of warm water, and bake until the CUSTARD is set, testing with the finger or a silver knife. Remove from the heat, cool at once, and serve cold.
Woman’s Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 4
by Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences (Year 1928)