Everyone has their own comfort foods. Mine have always involved vanilla-flavored things...puddings mostly. Boring, I know. And yes, I also choose vanilla ice cream over most other flavors when in an ice cream store, but for some reason never thought it a comfort food. It's a fun food. Although considering the calories, I don't know how we can call ice cream food, but whatever.
Who knows where the love of comfort food it starts? Childhood, I should think. My mother made a lot of comfort foods...in particular, her Floating Island comes to mind; it was ambrosial. One rarely sees it on a menu in restaurants in the US, but I've enjoyed it often when in France. I think it's considered a "nursery food" in Europe. But do you know, it's the crème anglaise that gets me every time. I could eat it by the bowlful. Forget the little egg white islands.
Crème anglaise is also referred to as English Custard. So simple to make...milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla....things we usually have in the fridge and pantry. Handy when you need comfort. You have to be a little bit cautious when making it so it doesn't curdle, but it's not brain surgery.
After making one of my rhubarb recipes for the blog, I had several stalks of rhubarb left over; I had recently seen Marion Cunningham's Rhubarb and English Custard recipe when I was searching for another recipe in her Breakfast Book (which frankly, you should all own and if you're still debating it, read this wonderful old Gourmet review HERE.). I had one of those "why haven't I made this before" moments. I took my leftover rhubarb and made her dish. Definitely comfort food, but with a difference. Of course, I ate most of the custard first.
Marion Cunningham's Rhubarb with English Custard
From The Breakfast Book
1 pound rhubarb, ends trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. (4 cups)
1 1/3 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 inch thick slice fresh gingerroot
2 cups English Custard (recipe follows)
Put the rhubarb into a saute pan that has a lid. Add 1 cup of water and cook, covered, over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, just until the rhubarb is barely tender. Do not overcook! Carefully remove the rhubarb from and pan and set aside. Discard the water.
Put the sugar, 1/3 cup water and gingerroot into the saute pan and heat until the sugar dissolves and it comes to a boil. Add the rhubarb and stir gently for about a minute so the rhubarb is coated with the syrup. Allow to cool, remove the gingerroot and refrigerate.
Serve with English Custard on top.
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten with a fork
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla
Heat the milk to a simmer point. Not boiling, but little bubbles around the side and steam rising from the milk. Remove from heat and add sugar. Sitr to dissolve. With a whisk, slowly temper the egg yolks until all the milk is combined. Pour back into the pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Pay attention, as there will be a slight thickening and the mixture will coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, strain, and then add the vanilla. I like my custard cool, so I place some plastic wrap on the surface so it won't form a skin, and refrigerate.
Heaven. I totally agree with you about custard as comfort food. It's probably something deeply Freudian, but all those milky puddings - rice pudding, custard, bread and butter pudding - are my comforts.ReplyDelete
I can think of all sorts of uses for that lovely custard. It is beautiful over the rhubarb, Barbara, and would be delicious with berries as well.ReplyDelete
You are on a roll here with these wonderful dishes you have been making. I've been saving them with great joy.ReplyDelete
I just got more rhubarb (tis the season) and didn't feel like another pie since I'm doing cherry this week so I didn't know what to make with it. This is perfect!! It really is great comfort food!
... and I'm just not a fan of most things custard-like. Definitely not of those in the gelatin family.ReplyDelete
Odd though, because my comfort foods tend to be creamy!
I'll take a big scoop of comfort with that classy English Custard! Haven't had any rhubarb this season, and I really have to get some before it's gone!ReplyDelete
Estupendo postre de natillas me encanta el color del ruibarbo,hugs.ReplyDelete
I love all vanilla flavoured things as well and even have vanilla scented candles.ReplyDelete
Custard and rhubarb are brilliant :DReplyDelete
I turn to vanilla flavored treats for comfort also. I love that you paired this custard with the rhubarb! such a great combination.ReplyDelete
Looks very delicious!ReplyDelete
Custard and rhubarb are a great combo.
I love vanilla curd and vanilla cakes like comfort food maybe because my mom always made vanilla desserts when we were little:) and still she loves it.ReplyDelete
I love this dessert Barbara look delicious!!xo
This bought a HUGE smile to my face - it's just a perfect English dessert and SO delicious when made well like this!!! the perfect combination of flavors :)ReplyDelete
Although I'm not much of a rhubarb fan, I must say, this recipe seems quite tempting. I just may need to give it a try one day. I'm sure Marion would LOVE it!
Thank you so much for sharing...
Custard is a comfort memory from my childhood also, however not quite this fancy. This looks incredible Barbara.ReplyDelete
I love custards, especially the super creamy ones...the combination of rhubarb + ginger and the custard sounds and looks heavenly.ReplyDelete
Have a great week Barbara :D
Totally love this dessert. Custard is a definitely my comfort food coz this is the food I have grown up with.ReplyDelete
My rhubarb (young) is late; it's just coming on here in Minnesota. I have to make this for my husband, who is rhubarb-nuts! Beautiful.ReplyDelete
i'm such a fan of custard. incidentally, i had some strawberry-rhubarb crisp at a restaurant the other day and thought of you. :)ReplyDelete
This sounds delicious as all your other favorite dessert do as well. I love floating islands...I haven't had it in years.ReplyDelete
I enjoy custard on its own but also in all sorts of sweets. This is a beautiful one with rhubarbs on it!ReplyDelete
This is a typical classical combo that I love to savour often. I am a real home-made custard fan too!ReplyDelete
I eat custards a lot with home-made crumbles, hot then!
Couldnt resist that custard so early in the morning! My rhubarb is ready for picking - maybe a bit past - and I've only baked one strawberry/rhubarb pie!! I just hopped over to Amazon and got a copy of Marion's book! Thank you!ReplyDelete