You know you’re getting old when you start to enjoy desserts with savoury twists. A red tea baba at Dabbous that I had about a year ago comes to mind. Likewise milk ice cream with coffee crumb and salted celery, made off the cuff by the chefs at Upstairs at the Ten Bells when a low sugar option was requested.
Recently the ‘adult’ flavours have been carried by ice cream. An Assam tea ice cream tested for the Plusixfive cook book, a gunpowder tea one tasted at Gelupo, and one flavoured by cloves, made to chef Alan Stewart’s instructions for his Two Dinners, One lunch pig extravaganza a week or so ago.
Which got me thinking … and at the weekend, instead of chucking cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves in with an apple pie, I kept that plain and instead laced a custard with mixed spice and less sugar than usual. It was super. Kind of like Christmas. Of course the spices in a mixed spice blend are fairly ‘sweet’ and are traditional pudding flavours, so this should seem neither revolutionary nor odd. But it did make a change from vanilla and loads of sugar.
On that note, I only had demerara sugar lying around. Its chunky granules required a bit of work when whisking into the eggs, and care to ensure it was all taken up later by the warm milk and cream. But the end result was a lovely, rounded and fairly subtle molasses flavour underneath the spice. So that was a happy convenience.
Mixed Spice custard
Makes about a pint of custard (a decent pour for six people, or one thirsty glutton).
- 250g double cream
- 250g full fat milk
- 2g mixed spice
- 5 egg yolks
- 40g demerara sugar
- A good whisking action
- 1 full tube of Patience
Combine the milk and cream in a thick bottom milk pan. Add the spice. Warm on the hob so it just starts to simmer. Take off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the mix is light and thick (basically, whisk hard for a minute or two until you get ribbons when you lift the whisk away from the mix. Then whisk hard for another minute, cos you’re probably not there yet).
Add a small amount of the warm milk into the egg mix, stir it in. Repeat, gradually adding more liquid each time until everything is combined.
Wash the saucepan. Pour the egg/milk mix back into it and place on a very low heat. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the custard gives a lush and lasting coat to the back of the spoon. Pass the custard through a sieve.
Leave to cool (press clingfilm directly to the surface to stop a skin forming) and gently reheat when required.
7 thoughts on “Mixed spice custard”
Mixed spiced custard sounds seriously good, will definitely be giving this a go.
This sounds lovely, a great way to lift Autumn pies. I’m also going to link this post to my Mother drawing her attention to the tube full of patience comment; she’s always exasperated at how long making homemade custard takes!
Rachel (and her mum) – yep,
gotta stand, stir and be mighty patient. Unless you liked your spiced custard scrambled.
Kate – reckon you’ll like it. Love to know what you think once tried.
If you are right about your first sentence then I am definitely getting old, although I prefer to think my palate is simply bored of the standard sweets full of chocolate and vanilla and just looking for more exciting flavours. Besides, making more use of our spice cabinets and tea selection to make more interesting desserts can never be a bad thing. Love the idea of the mixed spice custard, would not mind that with a slice of warm pie right about now!
But is the skin as good as the skin on Bird’s custard?
Yes Nick. Leave it uncovered for long enough and you’ve got yourself a trampoline.