This week's Tuesdays With Dorie pick, from Bridget of The Way the Cookie Crumbles, is a bit misleading. It's called Lemon Cup Custard, except it's not very lemony. As a matter of fact, it's not very custardy, either. A more appropriate name would be flan with a hint of lemon. That's not to say I didn't end up enjoying the recipe. I just didn't enjoy it as it was written.
The custard (or flan) is made by steeping hot milk with lemon zest and, in my case, cloves. The hot milk is then carefully mixed with four eggs and a bit of sugar, then strained into custard cups and baked in a water bath until set.
Half-way through the milk steeping process, I decided to read the P&Q section at Tuesdays With Dorie. That's the weekly thread where TWD bakers get to ask each other questions about the weekly recipe and offer up suggestions. I'm glad I did read it - otherwise, I would have proceeded with the recipe, unaware of what I was up against. A lot of TWD bakers took issue with the egginess of the custard, as well as its relative blandness - particularly its lack of lemony flavour. I steeped the lemon zest and cloves in the milk for a full hour, double the length recommended in the recipe. It was still too bland, so I added a ton of vanilla extract - more than I have ever added to a recipe before. About 2 tablespoons. It sounds like a lot, and it was, but the custard really needed it to be flavourful.
With these tweaks, I was quite happy with the recipe. The lemon flavour was faint, but the combination of vanilla and cloves really appealed to me, although my boyfriend wasn't quite as impressed. I do enjoy flan so I wasn't bothered by the recipe's slight egginess. I would make my version of the recipe again, but not the original. Thanks for the selection, Bridget! I enjoyed making something different.