Ahhh… cream. Whenever a recipe calls for it, I dutifully buy it, use the required two tablespoons and then stare at the cool little carton of thick, enticing creamy stuff and wonder, what on earth should I do with you now?
Or I did, until one day, determined to use up extra cream and the last bits of a bottle of rum from a party that may have taken place in a previous decade, I hit up Google. And Google gave me this wonderful gift: Vanilla-Rum Custard from Saveur.
Except, the recipe wanted four cups of cream, which was something like four time as much as I had. And I definitely didn’t have a spare vanilla bean lying around. But! I had yogurt and some extra eggs, and some nutmeg so, you know, I figured I was nearly there.
I’ve never sampled the Saveur recipe made to Saveur’s specifications. I’m sure it’s amazing. But my scattershot version was also delicious. It had a consistency something like flan and an amazing rich, spicy flavor that kept luring my spoon back to the dish.
I’ve made it a number of times now, each time working with what I had. My spinoff, laissez faire recipe is quite foolproof. While the ratios and ingredients may vary, resulting in a spectrum of textures and flavors, virtually any outcome will be a yummy one. I’ve found it can also be a great way to experiment with sweet spices you don’t use terribly often. I’ve used pumpkin pie spice and would consider cardamom, allspice and cloves. Once, hoping for something approximating green tea ice cream, I dumped in a bunch of matcha powder. It didn’t come out quite as I expected. “What flavor do you think it is?” I proudly asked my husband, hoping it would transport him back to our frequent outings for green tea ice cream as teenagers. He scooped some into his mouth and looked at me quizzically. “Spinach?” Still, he ate every last bit of it, so we declared it a success.
And another bonus — while cream is certainly essential, my version of the recipe is built around eggs and yogurt too, so I feel completely OK pairing the custard with some fruit for a protein-filled, indulgent breakfast. Good morning!
Rum Cream Custard
[The original recipe calls for four eggs and four cups of cream. Since I use much less cream, I approximate the volume lost by adding more eggs and yogurt. You really can’t go wrong. The combination you use will just impact the texture of the dish, but I’ve always found the texture to be fantastic no matter what ratios I used.]
1 - 3 cups cream: I’ve used both table cream and various types of whipping cream
4 - 6 eggs: If I have less cream, I use more eggs
A giant scoop of yogurt: The amount you add, and whether you add yogurt at all is really up to you. I’ve found the yogurt adds a little bit of a cheesy tang to the custard. If you're in a hurry, it may not mix well, resulting in little yogurty beads in the final product. This has never bothered me.
¾ cups sugar
Five tablespoons of rum
A hearty splash of vanilla extract: As much as a tablespoon or more should be delicious.
1 teaspoon or more of your favorite sweet spice: Or put to work a sweet spice you’re trying to use up. I’ve found that nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice pairs really well. I’ve also used matcha powder, though for that rendition I skipped the rum
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1.Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.
2.Whisk together the sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla and any other spices. Whisk in the yogurt. Whisk in the cream and rum.
3.Pour into a 3-quart baking dish (or something approximately that size). Put the baking dish in the oven resting inside a semi-deep pan. Pour boiling water into the pan so it comes about halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
4.Bake for at least an hour. You’ll know it’s done when it firms up and separates a bit from the sides of the baking dish, and browns just a bit on top (admittedly, the one pictured below, probably should have been taken out of the oven five minutes sooner). It often puffs up a bit like a souffle.
5. You’ll want to let it cool a bit before serving. It should stay good in the fridge for at least five days. It’s delicious served either warm or cold.