I’m home!  I’m in the middle of clearing my desk and paying bills, but I plan on baking DOG BISCUITS later this afternoon.  So I’ll report on that later. 

But until then, here’s a post from my personal history.  I’ve always been frightened by the idea of . . . custard! 

My baking fixation has led to many hours of watching any TV show with cupcakes in it, and this practice has led to a fixation and fascination with Buddy Valastro andCake Boss. (Wouldn’t you love to have an Italian family that works together and eats together all the time?) Anyway–I ordered Buddy’s delightful book and after cleaning the house on Saturday, I took off to the grocery store to stock up on cake flour, eggs, butter (lots!), and confectioner’s sugar.

But before I started one of Buddy’s cakes (the book has recipes!), I wanted to try an ice cream recipe that I found on epicurious.com. I have an ice cream maker that I hardly ever use, so I thought I could make some ice cream and freeze it for a day when I’m NOT on a diet. Then, while the ice cream churned away, I’d start Buddy’s carrot cake because that’s my favorite kind of cake in all the world.

Well . . . the ice cream recipe called for only a few things: whipping cream, whole milk, sugar, eight, count ’em, EIGHT egg yolks, and a teeny bit of Frangelico. Oh–and an entire vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise.

Vanilla scrambled eggs, anyone? 
Had to go to two stores before I found a vanilla bean, and I almost didn’t buy them–TWO beans in a jar cost $9.99. Ten bucks! Five bucks a bean!  (Since them, I’ve found them much cheaper online.) 

But because I was in a gourmet mood and feeling pretty invincible because I’ve been watching so many hours of Buddy and Company, I bought the beans.

Came home and put on one of my new aprons (I’m still making them!), then poured the cream, milk, sugar, and bean into a saucepan and began to heat and stir. I have to admit, it was pretty cool to see little black flecks appear in the mix–the bits of the vanilla bean you often see in really good vanilla ice cream. Then I whipped the eight egg yolks together. I was supposed to next pour the egg whites into the milk and vanilla mixture, while not letting it boil.

I have a gas stove, so I thought if I kept stirring and kept an eye on the flame, I could keep it from boiling. So I’m stirring and stirring and suddenly, a bubble–Eeek! I quickly lower the flame, but suddenly–I mean really, all of a sudden, I find myself staring little bits of scrambled egg with vanilla flakes all through it.

Sigh. I had a sinking feeling, but I persevered. I strained the mix, following the direction, and ended up with a small bowlful of watery whey, and a big bowlful of very sweet, very spotted scrambled eggs. (I tasted them. If I hadn’t been on a diet, I might have eaten them all.)

I realized all hope was lost and set the eggs aside for my dogs.

On to Buddy’s cake.

He gives good directions, but I see right away that an OPTIONAL ingredient is a vanilla custard cream. I consider doing without it–especially when I see that the steps to making the custard creme are almost EXACTLY like making the ice cream-with-the-five-dollar-bean I just ruined, but I’m determined to make this like Buddy would.

So I stir in the milk and the cream and the sugar and vanilla extract (Buddy saves me a bundle of cash by not asking for the vanilla bean), and I whip the egg yolks–five of ’em–in a separate bowl, then I have to pour the eggs into the milk mixture. This time I’m so paranoid about getting the mix so hot that it scrambles the eggs that I turn the flame WAY down low, practically off.

Buddy says to beat the mix on the stove for a minute, so I do. The mix is supposed to be thick and creamy, and mine is like yellow soup. Not working. I try to convince myself that my soup looks like cream, but then I have to get real and admit that it’s not. So I turn up the heat, pray, and beat for another minute, and YES! The froth disappears, the mixture thickens, and it’s CREAM! I quickly turn off the flame and beat in the butter.


The rest of the recipe was fairly standard: I added carrots, sugar, cake flour, spices, the custard, walnuts, raisins, etc., and after baking I placed two cakes into the freezer–I’ll defrost and frost them when I need a dessert for my book club or something.

So now I won’t faint if I have to make a custard. Now, if he can only teach me how to melt chocolate without burning it . . .

1 Comment

  1. darien

    hmmm…I may have to look up those instructions. I cannot make custard either and have tried much like you–to use my ice cream maker. I am going to try again to make creme caramel…but that’s custardy too. I feel doomed. You give me hope 🙂


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.