July 11, 2009

Cheese Custards

This has been one of Picky's favorite meals for a long time - I made it last night and took pictures, and perhaps because I made it into a big deal, she wouldn't touch it! She ate toast with butter instead, which is the only thing I will make for her if she doesn't want anything on the table. Anyway, savory custards are perfect for kids - they are mild and creamy, and much less fussy to make than quiche. I can whip this up pretty quickly, but you have to give it a good 10 minutes to cool after, which doesn't make it a great breakfast - I usually serve it for lunch or dinner. If you are serving it for dinner (like I did last night), serve it with a nice big salad (for the adults, unless your child will eat salad - mine won't), it makes a nice light meal. My family is rather small (Picky is an only child), so the portion here is perfect for us, but it might be a bit small for a larger family. I tried out my new 1 cup ramekins for this one, and it made two of those, plus one small (1/2 cup) ramekin for Picky. I usually use five small ramekins, and the adults just eat one or two (dh usually eats two or three). The recipe specifies four 1 cup ramekins - it doesn't really matter what size you use, but it does affect the timing a bit. I like my custards a bit firm, so I cook it longer than the original recipe specifies. This recipe is adapted from one in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison (one of my favorite vegetarian books...). I've simplified it a bit here:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 tsp salt (optional pepper to taste)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I use a nice sharp cheddar, you could go mild if your child prefers it)
  • paprika for the tops
Preheat oven to 350. Spray four 1 cup ramekins with spray canola oil. Arrange the ramekins in a larger baking pan without touching the sides.(like a lasagna pan) Beat the eggs and milk with the salt in a bowl or 4 cup measure. Stir in the cheese. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, scoop the mixture into the ramekins, trying to distribute the cheese evenly. Sprinkle each one with plenty of paprika. Pour hot water into the baking pan, until it comes half way up the ramekins. Carefully place them in the oven, and bake until golden on top and set, between 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the ramekins. (give them a wiggle - they should be somewhat firm, and they tend to puff up a bit). Take them out of the water bath with tongs to cool - be sure to let them cool at least 10 minutes (possibly a bit longer) before serving it to your little one - can be served room temp, just like quiche.

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