Ah yes. A perfect, basic custard. Nothing fancy and nothing better. Don't we all have a favorite recipe? I don't care how many recipes I've tried, I always come back to this one. It's one of the most comforting desserts around, not overly sweet, perfect for kids when they don't feel well and I make it often to take to friends who are under the weather or on limited diets. Everyone loves custard. Mother made it all the time when we were children and continued to make it all her life.
The key to any custard is in the baking. The biggest problem? Overbaking. If your custard comes out watery or has holes in it, you've overbaked it. A custard should be smooth and creamy, not watery, with a consistency somewhat like Jello. All ovens are different and until you know exactly how your custard will bake, start sticking a knife into one of your custards before the baking time is up. I've noticed the oven in my new house seems to run hot so I actually turned the heat down a bit to start with and the knife still came out clean 5 minutes early. When the knife comes out clean, take them out, forget what the timer says.
Cool and refrigerate.
It sounds odd to put paper towels in the bottom of the pan, but my mother did it; she told me it makes for even baking. I ask you, who would know better?
Happy Mother's Day everyone!
3 slightly beaten eggs
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups scalded milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 325
Combine eggs, sugar and salt until well mixed. Do not beat. Slowly add scalded milk, stirring, not whipping (you don't want foam) and then the vanilla. Strain into a pitcher and then pour into your custard cups. Bake in a pan whose sides are not deeper than the custard cups and has a sheet of paper toweling in the bottom. Place the custard cups on top and fill the pan half way up the cups with boiling water. Now sprinkle on the nutmeg.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until knife comes out clean.