Friday, July 30, 2010

First Attempt at Custard...

So, I tried this week's recipe. It actually went fairly well...though my dear husband might need to get me a kitchen torch for our anniversary because the broiler didn't work as well as I wanted. But I am getting ahead of myself.

First off, I made my own pastry crust rather than buying it. I just made a basic crust using the Cuisinart recipe (butter, flour, salt, and ice water). And I didn't have a tart pan, so I made it in an aluminum cake pan. Here it is...

The pastry crust turned out well. Even though I used pie beads, the crust bubbled a little, but I just broke the bubble and once I added filling it didn't matter.

Then I moved on to the custard. I am not really a big custard fan, and so I had never made it before. My first attempt didn't thicken well enough--I think I added the milk too fast. So I poured that out and started again. This time I only added 1 3/4 cups of milk and at a much slower rate. It thickened up quite nicely and cooled perfectly. While it was cooling, I cut up the peaches and washed a few blueberries that I wanted to add as well. Here it is before I added the sugar and browned the top:

This is where it got a little tricky. I poured the sugar over the top (I only used about 1/4 cup rather than the 1/3 of the cup called for in the recipe) and covered the edges of the crust with aluminum foil and put it under the broiler...and watched it like a hawk (I have burned one too many things under the broiler...). The middle caramelized fairly well, but the edges never got quite crusty.
Here is the finished product:

I served it for dessert tonight when we had friends over. Everyone really enjoyed it, and while I am not normally a custard fan, I thought it was quite tasty and nice and light...perfect for a post-BBQ dessert! Next time I think I would like to add some orange zest to the custard...and of course, add a kitchen torch to my gadget drawer!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Week One Recipe: Peach Crème Brûlée Tart

I thought I'd get the ball rolling here! This is a recipe I've been wanting to try for years now, and it's perfect because peach season has just begun, though theoretically, you could use just about any fruit in place of the peaches.

Peach Crème Brûlée Tart (from Cooking Light)
Cooking Deadline: August 4th


  • 1/2  (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
  • 1/4  cup  sugar
  • 3 1/2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  cups  2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1  (4-inch) piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1  large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2  cups  sliced ripe peeled peaches
  • 1/3  cup  sugar


1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Fit the dough into a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan, and pierce dough with a fork; bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.

3. Place 1/4 cup sugar, flour, and salt in a medium, heavy saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; add seeds and bean to milk mixture. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 5 minutes), stirring constantly.

4. Place egg in a large bowl. Gradually stir hot milk mixture into egg. Return milk mixture to pan. Cook 2 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Spoon custard into a small bowl. Place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice. Cool 20 minutes or until thoroughly chilled, stirring occasionally. Discard vanilla bean.

*If using vanilla extract add it after you've begun to chill the custard. Let cool for 20 minutes*

5. Spread chilled custard into bottom of prepared crust. Arrange the peach slices spoke-like on top of chilled custard. Sprinkle 1/3 cup sugar evenly over peach slices. (Alternatively you could place the peaches on the bottom and the custard on the top for a more crème brûlée like appearance - just remember that the 1/3 cup sugar needs to go on the top of the tart).

6. Holding a kitchen blow torch about 2 inches from the top of the tart, heat the sugar, moving the torch back and forth, until the sugar is melted and caramelized (about 3 minutes). If you don't have a blow torch, you can use the broiler of your oven. Just be sure to cover the exposed areas of crust with foil so it doesn't burn!

Serves 8

Nutritional Information

Calories: 247 (32% from fat)
Fat: 8.8g (sat 3.7g,mono 3.7g,poly 1g)
Protein: 4.5g
Carbohydrate: 37.9g
Fiber: 0.9g
Cholesterol: 36mg
Iron: 0.3mg
Sodium: 175mg
Calcium: 80mg

Welcome to August Cooks!

A lot of people make fun of relationships that start online. There would probably have been a time when I did. But, in the process of planning my wedding, I joined and met some amazing women, whom I'm really lucky to count amongst my friends, albeit virtually.

This cooking blog is the cumulative work of several of these fantastic women. Sit back and marvel at our triumphs and failures. Who will set their kitchen on fire first? Stay tuned to find out...