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Birthday Custard

December 3, 2013

The impact of Thanksgiving seems to have been about five pounds. But it wasn’t just Thanksgiving. There were really two Thanksgivings. And right before that was a surprise birthday party planned by my adoring daughter and her grandmother. I have to admit being surprised because it was sprung on me over a week before my actual birthday. Naturally, there was cake and ice cream.

After second Thanksgiving, there was the feast of the Pepe’s. We got four large pies, from this New Haven institution: cheese, sausage, white broccoli and their famous white clam. Let’s just say that not only did I eat a lot of that, but I also took home most of the leftovers and consumed it for breakfast and lunch yesterday.

I also took home some a container of my favorite stuffing ever. Speaking of which, Aunt N. read the comments from Mr. Dave and Burnt My Fingers, and let’s just say that she was not amused. Personally, I say let those who don’t appreciate this stuffing miss out on its buttery succulence.

It was great to see the family and to eat so much tasty food. But now I’m done.

That, of course, is going to make the observance of my actual birthday this Friday a bit more tricky. Seriously, at this point, I couldn’t possibly even think about putting another forkful of cake or pie into my mouth. At least now I finally have an idea about how to celebrate.

Custard is a broad category of desserts. But I have something specific in mind.

Part of me had a hankering for a traditional Grape Nut pudding. You know, since I’m old. But naturally, it wouldn’t be made with Grape Nuts anymore, but rather the now superior store brand. However, I’m also going to be sharing this dessert with the kids, and they are not lovers of the form.

It’s been a long time though since I’ve made a simple and traditional baked custard.

For a long time I was a big fan of flan. Growing up in Miami, those caramelized Cuban custards got me through high school. I even made an enormous one for my grandmother’s 75th birthday. But given the state of my satiety, flan is still a little bit much.

When I was a child, my other grandmother, Nana E. would always have a few baked custards tucked in the back of her fridge. They weren’t anything fancy, just milk, eggs, sugar and nutmeg. Maybe there was a little vanilla in there too. But these were less desserts as much as they were wholesome snacks.

Not everyone knows this, but you can totally make custards with skim milk too.

Yes, I’ll probably add a bit of whole milk, just to help protect the custard from breaking. The proportions from the Joy of Cooking are:

3 large eggs
1/3 cup of sugar
1/8 teaspoon of salt and
2 cups of warm milk

Given that this produces five 6-ounce custards, it sounds pretty moderate to me. They bake in water bath at 325 for 40-60 minutes. So they are easy to boot.

Sweet. Moderately healthy. Effective at holding a candle. Reminiscent of the foods of my youth. Appropriate for an old man. Satisfying for children of all ages. Sounds like we’ve got a winner.

Now I just need to figure out what kind of presents I want.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2013 11:26 am

    You gained 5 lbs in a (long) weekend? I’m no doctor, but that doesn’t sound right or healthy. Did you move at all? That’s roughly 16,500 kCal ABOVE what you need to stay alive with your body at rest. Just spitballin’ here, but let’s assume the festivities kicked off on Wednesday with the first night of Chanukah: through Sunday your body consumed around 1,700 kCal on it’s own per day or roughly 8,500 total calories. Add on top of that at least 3,500 per day to gain 5 lbs in 5 days, and that’s assuming you didn’t walk, move, or anything. Add 500 kCal per day to be safe.That’s a WHOPPING 5,700 kCal PER DAY you consumed to gain 5 lbs in 5 days, and I’m convinced that number is too low. Wowzers! Do you lose weight that fast, too? I did no where near my normal level of physical activity, and I maintained my weight (although I am sure I ate a fraction of what you did).

    • December 3, 2013 11:32 am

      I think he was probably being facetious, however, I definitely agree that it’s not healthy. The holidays, Thanksgiving mainly in my house, are hard on everyones waist lines.

  2. Jessica R permalink
    December 3, 2013 12:41 pm

    I have made the crock pot rice pudding here with skim milk, and it comes out pretty good! There is a ton of it too – easy to share for your birthday!

    http://prettylifeanonymous.blogspot.com/2012/01/five-things-friday.html

  3. December 3, 2013 1:06 pm

    Most of the pounds probably came from that stuffing. It packs a payload equivalent to a deep fried turducken. Three whole sticks of butter? Oh, dear.

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