Today an old family recipe worth cherishing, and the latest instalment on life at my farm.
This baked custard recipe was my grandmother’s, although my grandfather liked to boast that he perfected it! It always reminds me of the love and care he had for my grandmother – he was never a man to be in the kitchen but as my grandmother’s eyesight failed and her health deteriorated he would cook this custard for her every week. And I have to admit he did a fine job of it too.
So what’s with the free kitten? I have some in my possession. I’ve been nursing them since yesterday when my husband found them, abandoned by their young feral mother in an overturned cattle trough down by the shed.
So on this frosty farm morning I find myself nursing four tiny feral, hissy-spittie kitties.
Later today I will take them to a cat shelter, not far from here, and kind foster mothers will nurse the kittens until they are old enough to live in the shelter, and be adopted out as rescue pets.
We have a box in the shed with emergency mothering supplies. There is calf formula for baby cows (works on puppies and kittens in a pinch too if watered down), bird mix for baby birds, bird mix for injured adult birds, a mix for wallabies and kangaroos, wombat mix (only ever used that once but the tin is good for two more years!) and an assortment of bottles, droppers, gloves and sacks (for wrapping babies in). Who said I am no soft touch?
This baked custard is equally good for mothering – other people or yourself. It is warm, rich in protein, and easy to eat and digest. True comfort food with its silky texture and gentle flavours. I would have eaten some for breakfast, but somehow in the middle of the night the remainder has disappeared. Those kittens must be able to raid the fridge!
Easy Baked Custard Recipe
Ingredients: 4 eggs, 2 and 1/2 cups milk, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, butter for greasing dish, nutmeg. (If you need this recipe to be sugar free it works just fine with an equivalent amount of natural sugar substitute – I use Natvia and it tastes brilliant!)
- Preheat your oven to 130c (250f or slow oven) if fanforced or 150c (300f – and still slowish oven) if not.
- Grease a four cup capacity dish, and find a baking tray large enough for it to sit within.
- Beat eggs and sugar together with a whisk or fork until sugar is dissolved. Add milk and vanilla and mix through.
- Pour mixture into the greased dish.
- Grate or sprinkle nutmeg over the top of the custard. (I am a firm lover of fresh nutmeg – once you’ve tried it you’ll never go back to the packaged stuff!)
- Fill baking tray with cold water so that it comes halfway up the side of the custard dish.
- Place carefully into oven and bake for 40 to 60 minutes or until set. Custard will be firm under your touch, although it may still be a bit wobbly in the middle. It will firm more as it cools.
Note: Oven temperatures vary widely. You need to cook this slowly to be rewarded with a thick, well set dish. If it is cooked at too high a temperature you will have lots of bubbles in your custard and a lot of whey (clearish looking fluid). Unless you have used low temperatures in your oven before, you need to check your custard after thirty minutes. After thirty minutes, if the custard has not picked up some colour and begun to set, your oven is too slow and you will need to adjust the temperature up a little. When I cook this at my farm in my Falcon Oven which is fan-forced electric, it takes 40 minutes to bake my custard. When I cook this dish in the city, my old gas oven takes 60 minutes.
Serve warm or cold. Goes very well with stewed fruits, baked apples and pastries. I am reliably informed that it is also tasty with jelly. Warning – may be stolen by kittens!