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Custards, Creams and Desserts

The usual rule for custards is, eight eggs to a quart of milk; but a very good custard can be made of six, or even less, especially with the addition of a level tablespoonful of sifted flour, thoroughly blended in the sugar first, before adding the other ingredients. They may be baked, boiled or steamed, either in cups or one large dish. It improves custard to first boil the milk and then cool it before being used; also a little salt adds to the flavor. A very small lump of butter may also be added, if one wants something especially rich.

To make custards look and taste better, duck's eggs should be used when obtainable; they add very much to the flavor and richness, and so many are not required as of ordinary eggs, four duck's eggs to the pint of milk making a delicious custard. When desired extremely rich and good, cream should be substituted for the milk, and double the quantity of eggs used to those mentioned, omitting the whites.

When making boiled custard, set the dish containing the custard into another and larger dish, partly filled with boiling water, placed over the fire. Let the cream or milk come almost to a boil before adding the eggs or thickening, then stir it briskly one way every moment until smooth and well cooked; it must not boil or it will curdle.

To bake a custard, the fire should be moderate and the dish well buttered.

Everything in baked custard depends upon the regularly heated slow oven. If made with nicety it is the most delicate of all sweets; if cooked till it wheys it is hardly eatable.

Frozen eggs can be made quite as good as fresh ones if used as soon as thawed soft. Drop them into boiling water, letting them remain until the water is cold. They will be soft all through and beat up equal to those that have not been touched with the frost.

Eggs should always be thoroughly well beaten separately, the yolks first, then the sugar added, beat again, then add the beaten whites with the flavoring, then the cooled scalded milk. The lighter the eggs are beaten, the thicker and richer the custard.

Eggs should always be broken into a cup, the whites and yolks separated, and they should always be strained. Breaking the eggs thus, the bad ones may be easily rejected without spoiling the others and so cause no waste.

A meringue, or frosting for the top, requires about a tablespoonful of fine sugar to the beaten white of one egg; to be placed on the top after the custard or pudding is baked, smoothed over with a broad-bladed knife dipped in cold water, and replaced in the oven to brown slightly.

Source

The White House Cookbook (1887).

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