Nerd Word Wednesday

The tulips are blooming and I’m buying sandals.  Spring is truly happening and April is coming upon us.  I want to eat strawberries with whipped cream and have picnics.  But first, let’s talk about custard.  

custard |ˈkəstərd|


a dessert, quiche, or sweet sauce made with milk, eggs, and often sugar.

Custard is an amazingly wonderful dessert, as well as the base of a great many other culinary preparations.  Quiches are built upon the custard principle, in addition to cheesecakes and pies.  

Custards are almost always built with milk or cream, though any liquid containing dissolved minerals will do.  The Japanese are known to make savory custards using chicken broth or vegetable stock.  

Custards require gentle heat, and cannot be rushed.  If a custard is rushed and caused to thicken too quickly, the product will become curdled and lumpy.  

“Common custards” are formed by scalding milk or cream, and then stirring it into an egg and sugar mixture.  This technique heats the eggs gently and “tempers” the eggs without causing them to scramble.  Tempering refers to the process of heating eggs just below the setting temperature.  

Always add hot to cold.  This may be one of the most important rules in custard-making.  If the cold eggs were added to the hot dairy, the egg would immediately set and coagulate.  Sound delicious?  Not really.  

Custards often intimidate.  The fear of serving a lumpy creme brulee can make bakers shy away from the cooked custard arena.  In truth, custards are often one of the simplest desserts to compose when you remember a few simple guidelines. 

Happy spring and happy Wednesday!


  Pedantic Foodie