Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Custard variant

After jam and rumpot, I still had quite a few plums left. I figured I'd just stew them and have them on my morning porridge. I didn't do a very good job of the stewing, though - the plums broke down so quickly I was soon left with a runny sauce-like liquid (not too dissimilar to my 'jam', come to think of it). Thinking of it as a sauce made me wonder whether I could make a dessert to have with some sweet plum sauce.

While I'm doing very well getting through the puddings chapter, I've fallen behind with the cold desserts. Leafing through this chapter, I found a recipe with the note "serve with fruit". Since there were no specifics indicated as to the consistency of the fruit in question, I figured my 'sauce' would go quite well.

The recipe I'd chosen was blancmange (p198). What's that? Well, it's a custardy kind of thing. It's really quite amazing how many custard recipes there are in the Edmonds book, not only for plain custards and custard sauces, but also custard-like desserts, or desserts that include custard (e.g trifle or fruit flan). Then again, there are few desserts simpler or cheaper than custard, and all these recipes are a testament to the variety of ways you can use it.

Anyway: blancmange. It starts as a fairly standard custard recipe; you stir together milk, custard powder and sugar over a low to medium heat until it thickens. At that point, you add the essence of your choice (vanilla, almond or lemon: I chose lemon) and pour the custard into a mould to set. I don't own any moulds, so I just poured mine into a bowl.

An hour or so later, I checked the blancmange. It looked to have set, so I turned it out onto a plate. The blancmange separated from the 'mould' quite easily, but it didn't actually hold its shape once I'd turned it out. It was in fact a big custardy blob on the plate. Oh well. I poured over some of my inadvertent sauce and had a taste.

It was pretty much what you'd expect - a custard that tastes a bit lemony. The lemon went quite nicely with the plum, but I could see that the blancmange would go better with some actual chunks of fruit instead of just a fruity sauce. On the whole, it was quite nice, but nothing terribly special.

For all that, it's worth bearing this or any of the other custard recipes in mind if you find you need a bit more filling up when you've finished your dinner. Custard is quick, easy to make, cheap and filling. It can be served hot or cold, and as far as desserts go, it's fairly healthy too: there may be a little bit of sugar, but it's low fat (especially if you use a trim milk) and generally served with fruit. And you don't have to stick to the same recipe either: there's plenty of scope for custard variety in your Edmonds book!


  1. Hi,

    Sorry, this seems a bit weird but Im a Taihape girl living in London. I have been following your blog for a while and I just love it. I remembered you live in Christchurch? I just wanted to check and see you are OK? The earthquake news has been all over the BBC news and it is just so tragic wwatching your country brought to its knees whilst being so far away. I really hope that you and your friends and family have managed to keep safe.

    I have always been incredibly inspired by your blog and so now I am doing my very own bake sale in my office to raise funds for the Red Cross Emegency Appeal - with recipes entirely from the Edmounds cookbook!

    Thanks again - I sincerely hope this comment finds you in good health.

    Kiwimel xx

  2. That's very sweet of you to worry. I'm absolutely fine and will be resuming the blog very soon. Until this afternoon I was without power or water, but I was well supplied with essentials and managed without any trouble. In fact, I've been quite lucky in comparison to many other people in Chch, so I've got nothing to complain about.

    Good on you for your fundraising efforts, and especially for doing your baking out of the Edmonds book - a real Kiwi touch!


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