Cider-Steamed Custard

I’ve been paging through a stack of old food magazines lately. I tend to stockpile, tuck them into a bag or a drawer or a closet or my nightstand, and then never look at them again. Since I actually like to read these magazines, my new strategy is: read it once. When I read a recipe I like, tear it out. So now I have a few torn out sheets of paper where I once had a magazine. I haven’t gotten beyond this step yet, but I do have a box where I’ve been tossing every cooking “to do” over the past eight years.

I suppose I should sort through that box.

For now, I’m just making my way through the recipes that pique my interest the most. I came across a good one in an ancient issue (August/September 2006!)) of EveryDay with Rachael Ray – Cider-Steamed Custard. This was perfect for a casual dessert during the week, so I invited my in-laws over to check out some work we’ve done in the house and eat sweets with us! I served the custard alongside a plate of Spiced Pumpkin Madeleines (recipe coming this week).

You’ll need a few things to make this custard, but chances are you already have most of them in your house! A steamer basket is a necessity. You can use a vegetable steamer to make do, which is what I did:

You will also need four ramekins, or at the very least, four small oven-safe dishes. I got my set of ramekins for under $10 and they came with plastic tops, so I thought that was a pretty reasonable price.

Cider Steamed Custard

adapted from EveryDay with Rachael Ray

3 large eggs                                                                                                                                      1-1/2 c. whole milk                                                                                                                               1/4 c. turbinado sugar                                                                                                                         5 cinnamon sticks                                                                                                                               3 c. apple cider                                                                                                                                1/4 tsp. nutmeg, divided

Bring the apple cider, one cinnamon stick, and 1/8 tsp. nutmeg to a simmer in the bottom of your strainer setup. (For me, a medium saucepan with a vegetable steamer basket that would fit over it later.)

In the meantime, stir the milk and sugar together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat the mixture to just shy of a simmer. While you wait for the heat to come up, whisk the eggs and remaining 1/8 tsp. nutmeg in a medium sized bowl.

Slowly stream the heated milk into the bowl of eggs, whisking the whole time. Return the custard to the saucepan and cook over low heat. Continuously stir with a wooden spoon for about three minutes, or until the custard begins to thicken.

Place a cinnamon stick in each ramekin. Pour the custard through a small strainer into each ramekin. Allow half an inch or so of space from the top of the custard to the lip of the dish.

Place the ramekins in the strainer basket and put it over the simmering cider. Add the top and bake, covered, for ten minutes or until loosely set. Turn off the heat and let sit (still covered) for five minutes. (oops, I forgot this step!)

Remove the custards from the steamer basket and place in the refrigerator until chilled, about an hour. (I sped this up with 20 minutes in the freezer, though I’m sure this is some sort of custard no-no.)

Continue simmering the cider until reduced to 1/3 cup. Yes, really. 1/3 cup. It will take at least 15 minutes. When ready to serve, drizzle chilled custards with cider syrup.

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