08 May 2008

There's custard...

...and then there's custard.

I'm not going to sugar coat things or wax too nostalgic about My Darling One: the man was an unwilling cook who relied heavily on Bachelor Chow: big box frozen foods, insta this and canned that. Don't get me wrong: when he did cook from scratch, it was very good -- spaghetti, lasagne, chicken oporto, and I'm told his trifle (I never got to try any as there was never any left for me to try--he took a full bowl to the office at Christmas, and it came back disappointingly empty). Those dishes appeared every so often, but mostly, if he made me a meal, it was usually what is known as Bachelor Chow.

When time came to clean out his pantry, a bachelor friend took much of the BC, a few things were kept (rice, pasta, oatmeal) and the rest was binned. One of the few things I kept was a cannister of Bird's Custard--a staple of the aforementioned trifle.

As someone who's only made...um...real custard, I was curious about this white cornstarchy mix that's famous for transforming into an unnaturally yellow pudding and sauce. I mean, how difficult is it to make custard? (Answer: Not very, as is evidenced by my ability to turn out a pretty yummy vanilla ice cream.).

Well...I made some to go with some individual apple crumbly crispy things.

Would I sound terribly boastful to say my home made custard is yummier--richer, vanilla-ier and, well, oomphier than the powdered purveyance? The colour didn't help matters much--I don't think mine comes anywhere close to that particular shade (unless I dribbled in some colourant).

That's not to say that the cannister will find its way into the bin. I have a few recipes that call for a spoon of custard powder here and there to flavour fillings or cookies...and besides, sometimes truly instant pudding is what a soul needs.

The individual apple crisps were the main point of dessert, no mere vehicle for the sauce. I don't really follow any real recipes when making them: half to a whole tart apple, peeled and sliced, with a spoon of jam or maple syrup in each ramekin.

The topping is really easy (and uses pinhead oats)--this amount was fine for six individual ramekins. Please note I'm pretty free-wheeling when it comes to making this...sometimes there's more flour and less oats, sometimes put spices in sometimes there's barely any butter...it all depends on my mood...and my pantry:

25g plain flour
100g brown sugar
40g rolled oats
15g pinhead oats
50g soft butter (or more, or less, depending on your mood)

Rub the topping ingredients together and spoon over apples before baking.


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Katerina said...

I find that free range\organic eggs have much oranger yolks and can help you beef up your yellowness more naturally.

K and S said...

we just had apple crisp recently too but with vanilla ice cream on top, your way with custard on top sounds delicious!

glamah16 said...

I have ssen that can of custard. One day I'm going to buy it. I dont need to say yours is far better.But keeping the can is a nice memento of him.

Dana McCauley said...

Bird's custard is absolutely essential for making one classic dessert though: Nanaimo Bars. When you make them without bird's, they just aren't the same.

breadchick said...

I keep a tin of Birds in my pantry for exactly the same reason, when a tablespoon of custard powder is called for and when I just want a pudding but don't feel like making 100% from scratch.

The Bird's is 1000X better than the other pudding that comes out of a box too.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Mood and pantry have made many a dish great! I really like the looks of your crisp, apple and custard sounds perfect about now.

Karen Baking Soda said...

I fess up: there's a box of custard in my pantry, for those cold and rainy nights when I feel the need for comfy food. Curl up and spoon..

creampuff said...

I so have to try your homemade custard one day!

Joy said...

Haha Birds custard! Is your lovely one British by any chance? I grew up with Birds so I do have a soft spot for it (despite its garish colour) especially when it is on my Mum's trifle. However, I agree that the real deal is infinitely better.

jasmine said...

Hello all

The can of Bird's will always have a home in my pantry...even if I use it up, it should be replaced.

Katerina -- good suggestion as feed generally affects yolk colour. Unfortunately, I'd heard that some egg producers artificially manipulate yolk colours by adding carotenoids.

Dana -- Had totally forgotten that. Must make some. Besides, Nanaimo bars are key to keeping me healthy :)

Ivonne -- We have to work something out.

Joy -- He and his mum were Scottish :)