08 May 2008
...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.