December Cooking Challenge: Custard

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I love this topic. Get 5 people who cook in a room together and bring up the subject and get ready for opinions to fly. So all the people who have spent parts of their lifetime to perfecting and to those who aspire to make a better one.... everybody.... lets talk custards! These can be baked, cooked on the stove, finished in the freezer if you prefer. Lets stretch out and think of savories along with sweets, interesting combinations in between. I'm hoping we all get to learn a little from this. Good luck!!!


I got a job at a place where they needed help in the dessert dept.

I knew very little about desserts. Like every line cook I had my stable of half a dozen tried and true never fail no-fuss desserts.

That and my willingness to do the Chefs' half dozen tried and true desserts landed me the 'pastry chef' position (I'm NOT a pastry chef).

So I filled the dessert menu with 5 items I knew how to make or that the chef showed me, and left one slot to teach myself something new. And I decided to get over my fear of cheesecakes. So I practiced, made a few bad ones; made a few good ones; and finally made one serveable at the restaurant. They turned out great. I wish I had a better photo.
 
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This should be easy to get an entry in. I always have milk and eggs on hand. Just have to think of something interesting. 
 
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Congratulations PeachCreek! This new challenge is definitely out of my comfort zone. I love it. Not a sweets fan and don't have any savory custard dishes that come to mind, but that's half the fun.
 

phatch

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Chinese Steamed Custard

I did a Mushroom version of this in the mushroom challenge. Today is shrimp and just a single serving because no one else wanted any with me.

Start your steamer.

Some chopped green onion, chopped shrimp, whole shrimp. In with the egg, there is a little bit of fish sauce to build a briny shortcut stock with some water, and knife point of mexican dried ground shrimp. The Chinese often use the small dried shrimp and use the hydrating liquid as the stock.  Some soy sauce, rice wine, hot sauce, white pepper and salt.  I was looking a version with oyster sauce, but I'll save that one for another day. 


Beat the eggs with some of the onion and chopped shrimp. Yes, the shrimp will settle.  Cover with plastic to help keep condensation out. Steam. Timing varies with your dish and the amounts you're making.  At 7 minutes, I removed the ramekin and added the whole shrimp. It was still runny in the center, but would support the weight of the shrimp.  Steam a few minutes more


Missed the timing and overcooked it a bit. Anyway, garnish with some soy sauce, sesame oil and some more chopped green onion


Yep, it was curdled at the edges and just starting too further in. Was still a nice brunch while reading SPQR.

 
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Somebody school me on what a custard is?  All I know for sure is it has egg.  Is dairy a requirement?

Creme brulee,  flan, souffles all count?
 
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I think it's supposed to but I consider pecan pie a custard too, not sure if it technically is
 
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I like the definition for custards and creams out of "On Food And Cooking" by Harold McGee:

To paraphrase:

'A mixture of eggs and liquid cooked that sets into a solid gel."

Technically a frozen custard and pastry cream are the same thing, and neither of them is a custard since a custard is a mixture of eggs and liquid cooked without stirring and results in a solid gel. Custards are also cooked and served in the same container. So  pecan pie and a pumpkin pie are... a custard.
 
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I like the definition for custards and creams out of "On Food And Cooking" by Harold McGee:

To paraphrase:

'A mixture of eggs and liquid cooked that sets into a solid gel."

Technically a frozen custard and pastry cream are the same thing, and neither of them is a custard since a custard is a mixture of eggs and liquid cooked without stirring and results in a solid gel. Custards are also cooked and served in the same container. So  pecan pie and a pumpkin pie are... a custard.
Its quite a loose definition - that would include a quiche filling. Would that meet the brief? I have a few ideas on those lines...
 
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Yep, a quiche is a custard. :) See? We're learning more by the minute! You all make me so proud!!!

And as of this moment...phatch has taken the commanding lead with the albeit imperfect but still perfectly delicious Chinese Steamed Custard.....

This is gonna get good.

Cheers and Good Luck to you all!
 
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So, the Chinese dish by @phatch looks fantastic but isn't that more like "oeuf en cocotte" since there is no dairy?  Just educating myself...   /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif  
 
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I like the definition for custards and creams out of "On Food And Cooking" by Harold McGee:

To paraphrase:
'A mixture of eggs and liquid cooked that sets into a solid gel."
Technically a frozen custard and pastry cream are the same thing, and neither of them is a custard since a custard is a mixture of eggs and liquid cooked without stirring and results in a solid gel. Custards are also cooked and served in the same container. So  pecan pie and a pumpkin pie are... a custard.

In the same container? I unmold my flan, is it not a custard? I really hate when we semantics get in the way of cooking.
 
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Well, I figure I will stick with at least 'custard and dairy', and I will let the Challenge Master make their decision.  That's the deal here at CF.   /img/vbsmilies/smilies/drinkbeer.gif
 
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..I purposely keep my knives too dull to split hairs./img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif

Peachcreek
 
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