Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: Lemon, Clove, and Vanilla Cup Custard

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.


Parker March 10, 2009 at 8:15:00 AM EDT  

Love your little pots, very cute. The custard sounds amazing, this is my type of dessert.

Steph March 10, 2009 at 8:22:00 AM EDT  

I like your custard cups! Even though you didn't enjoy it that much, at least it looks pretty. I kind of want to give this one a try now, just to see what it's like.

Kaitlin March 10, 2009 at 9:21:00 AM EDT  

Thanks Steph!

Parker: I forgot to mention that the recipe can be found at Bridget's site, so if you'd like to make this, you can check out her blog. The link is in the post.

chocolatechic March 10, 2009 at 11:38:00 AM EDT  

Your texture is fabulous.

doughmesstic March 10, 2009 at 12:04:00 PM EDT  

Cute pots! Glad you ended up liking it with your tweaks!

vibi March 10, 2009 at 2:38:00 PM EDT  

Very, very nice Kait!
I might try your version next time...

P.s.: the little ramequins are killer!

mike March 10, 2009 at 3:41:00 PM EDT  

Kait, Wow - it LOOKS very lemony! Looks fantastic. AND delicious. I loved it - it was definitely a mix between creamy and "curdy"... if that makes sense. I'll have to try the the clove adaption - glad you tried it! Nicely done - love the photographs!

Anonymous March 10, 2009 at 4:53:00 PM EDT  

The lemon/vanilla/clove combo sounds amazing. Your custards look wonderful. I'm glad they were a success for you.

Teanna March 10, 2009 at 5:03:00 PM EDT  

I think they look great! Sorry you weren't crazy about them, but I do love that you increased the vanilla! I'm a vanilla addict!

Kaitlin March 10, 2009 at 8:50:00 PM EDT  

I've never had anything that tasted worse because of vanilla, that's for sure.

Pamela March 10, 2009 at 10:50:00 PM EDT  

Well...more flan/custard for you, right? Sounds like the vanilla was a good kick in the pants for this recipe. I chickened out and made lemon cake instead, though. I love the little ramekins, too!

TeaLady March 11, 2009 at 7:08:00 PM EDT  

Cute pots. Too bad you didn't care for it too much. It was almost too subtle. I did like it, kind of... Yours does look good, tho'.

MaryBeth March 11, 2009 at 8:29:00 PM EDT  

Your custard cups are adorable...I think you did a wonderful job and it looks delish!!

farah March 12, 2009 at 11:11:00 AM EDT  

These look really good. I made vanilla cup custard and really liked it. Cloves must have been really good in this, yum :)

Melissa March 12, 2009 at 4:00:00 PM EDT  

I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe. Your variation must have made it so much better than the original!

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