Basic Egg Custard
A long time ago, in a city far, far away (Richardson, Texas, that is), my family took a trip to the local Luby's cafeteria. It was there, instead of taking a piece of chocolate pie for my dessert, that I decided to copy my father and try the egg custard. It was a very small bowl with a beige looking goop in it sprinkled with something on top. I was nervous, but trustful.
Thing was, my father eats a lot of stuff that I wouldn't put in my mouth: liver, cooked greens, and okra. But on the sweeter side of life, I trusted his judgement. Afterall, the man introduced me to cake-milk, cane syrup on cornbread, and cereal for dessert.
It was at that Luby's that I learned that I loved custard. And that love carried over to Flan and Creme Brulee.
Over time, I feared trying to cook it myself, knowing the risks of cooking with eggs. You could scramble them or it would turn out a watery mess. But I took a chance, and here is the most basic of all egg custard recipes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Set four 6 inch ramekins inside a deep baking dish, large enough to hold the cups and have enough room for a water bath. Heat about 4-6 cups of water to a boil and set aside while you assemble the custard.
In an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs and the sugar together on low speed until they just come together. Add the milk slowly, a splash at a time, while continuing to beat on low speed. Wait 5 seconds in between each addition. After doing this for 4 repetitions, add the rest of the milk. Add the vanilla extract.
Pour the mixture through a strainer into a pour-spout dish. This will ensure that the chalazae and any potentially scrambled pieces do not make it into the final fish.
Pour the custard into the ramekins and top with a pinch of grated nutmeg. Before setting the baking pan in the even, pour the hot water in the baking pan around the ramekins to align with the level of the custard in the cups.
Bake for 40-45 minutes. Test with a small knife at 40 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack. Chill in the fridge overnight.