Monday, December 7, 2009

California Custard, the Ultimate Comfort Food

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

“You eat in dreams, the custard of the day."-- Alexander Pope

It is zero degrees outside. Lake Tahoe got its storm. It got its snow. And it's great to look at, play in, and super for a tourist town. But if you live here and do not ski or snowboard the snow thing is another job. Shoveling and walking the pooches on black ice is a challenge. On the upside, folks in the midwest and northeast tell me tales about the wind chill so I guess it could be colder. Plus, visits to the indoor resort pool/hot tub spa allows me to pretend that I'm living in a Mediterranean climate...
So, this whining session is leading into a treat that I've been craving all day long. Comfort food. Custard. Warm, creamy and rich egg custard with nutmeg. This dish can be served for dessert, breakfast, or even a light lunch with a salad. It's so easy to make and bake.

California Custard
* * *
1 1/2 cup whole evaporated milk
1 cup 2% low-fat organic milk
3 large brown eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup premium maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut

Combine milk in a saucepan and heat till scalded, but do not boil. Mix eggs and sugar. Add syrup, vanilla, and coconut. Pour into two large custard dishes or four small ones. Sprinkle nutmeg on top. Place dish in a pan of water in the oven. Bake at 400 degrees (I live in a high altitude so it may be different, a bit lower for you) for about 45 minutes until firm. Cool. Top with fresh fruit and/or real whipped cream (without artery clogging hydrogentated fats). Makes four servings.

I admit it. My California Custard hit the spot. I indulged in a few bites and will save for tomorrow. But it worked. The whole milk is worth it for the taste. The chewy coconut is a nice touch. And the earthy flavor of nutmeg is heaven. After all the swimming, shoveling, walking the dogs--the calories/fat/cholesterol counts are fine. You can enjoy dishes, like this, if you do it in moderation--and keep your portions in check. (Another version of the Golden State custard that I created is Sierra-Style Baked Custard 'n' Dark Chocolate. Both are worth the effort.)

Of course, this native San Francisco Bay Area native would rather be in the balmy city (I'm homesick) or Hawaii for real comfort. But now that the house is warm and toasty, the fire is crackling, doggies/kitty are sleeping, and the snow is shoveled--no worries. I almost feel like a die-hard local. Sort of. Well, I'm good till the next snowstorm--which may hit at the end of this week.

P.S. Surprise! I was approved to be one more devoted foodie blogger on The Foodie BlogRoll! (You can see The Writing Gourmet listed on the right column of this blog.) And oh yes, that news was comforting like the custard.

P.P.S. Want French Recipes? Click That Petitchef Link!


  1. Very nice blog and congrats on the foodie blogroll!


  2. Thx Pam. Yes, this custard topped with fresh strawberries (not sure how we got these in Dec., maybe from Watsonville south of the SF Bay Area) made me smile and deal...with the frozen pipes/plumber this a.m.
    Do they still quarantine animals if you move to Hawaii?

  3. Hello,

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  4. Just found your blog and think it's so neat! If you would ever like me to interview you on my blog, please let me know-I feature foodie blogs.

  5. Your custard recipe sounds fabulous! I grew up not too far from Tahoe in Northern Ca- I love it! I love the touch of maple- yum!

  6. Moody Food, yes. I will do that in the near future. Please email me or I will email you.
    Rhandi, the syrup is nice touch. Go for the gourmet, pricey stuff. It lasts and it's worth it.

  7. 0 degrees, really? YIKES!!!
    The California custard looks absolutely divine. The creaminess alone would send me over the edge. Love it!

    Stay warm.

  8. Your custard sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing :)