Friday, June 4, 2010


"Cinnamon spice custard (Today’s Special)"

With a name like "Kick in the Pants" pie, I expected something with a little more ZING. This custard is smooth and creamy (as those pesky Yoplait women would say "This is ______ good!"); with the addition of cinnamon and cardamom, it was food coma-inducing. I suspect that what Keri Russell's character, Jenna, was really getting at was that you NEED a kick in the pants after eating this. Considering the amount of heavy cream in this recipe, I wish the kick in the pants forced me onto the treadmill, or at the very least, back to LSAT studying.

Custard pies just sound vile to me, so I opted to make a simple cinnamon custard. Since I had a bit of custard leftover, I made a delicious cinnamon custard brown betty / custard cup* that would be perfect for a brunch, and relatively easy, too! It tastes like a deconstructed french toast -- bread, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, cream... While I prefer the custard for a dessert, the custard cup would make a good brunch hors d'ouevre.

I may try to remake this properly as a pie, since this is the pie supposed to win Jenna her pie contest, but for now, enjoy these recipes:

Recipe for Cinnamon & Cardamom Custard (adapted from Atkins diet, of all places) & Brown Butter Custard Cups
(makes 6 4oz ramekins, or 2 quart round, or one odd-shaped terrine and 6 muffin cups)

For the custard:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon plus more for garnish
  • 6-10 cardamom pods, depending on how strong of flavor desired (go with 10)
  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar or splenda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups boiling water (for water bath)
  • whipped cream for garnish
For the custard cups:
  • 6 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed, flattened with rolling pin (I used wheat -- it was fine)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Sugar, cinnamon for garnish

  • In a medium-size heavy saucepan, combine heavy cream, cinnamon, and cardamom pods.
  • Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly to thoroughly blend cinnamon into cream, just until cream begins to steam (do not boil).
  • Meanwhile, heat oven to 300 F. Remove cardamom pods with soup ladle.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt together until pale yellow and slightly thickened.
  • Using a soup ladle and whisking constantly, very gradually pour in the hot cream. Then whisk in the vanilla extract.
  • Pour about 1/2 cup cream mixture into each of six 4-ounce custard cups (OR pour entire mixture into a 2-quart round baking dish OR into <2>
  • Place the cups or baking dish in a roasting pan. Carefully pour enough boiling water in the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cups or baking dish.
  • Bake until custard is still slightly loose in center, about 30 minutes (for the baking dish, bake about 5 minutes more. NOTE: it took me less time for the custard cups ~27 minutes, and more time for the large dish ~40 minutes).
  • Best enjoyed warm, right before bed
For custard cups:
  • Roll out crustless bread
  • Brown butter, then brush into pan and on both sides of bread.
  • Sprinkle the bread with cinnamon and sugar and press into muffin tin
  • Fill ~2/3rds of each cup with remaining custard, careful to not overfill beyond the crease
  • (NOTE: if you overfill, dont worry -- it won't burn, but it may bubble and souffle/deflate once you remove it.)

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