Bay leaf custard

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient
\N \N Unflavored oil
4½ cup Whole milk
6 \N Fresh -or-
3 \N Dried whole 2-inch bay leaves
4 \N Extra-large eggs
1 \N Extra-large egg white
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
⅛ teaspoon White pepper; preferably not too finely ground
1 pinch Salt
½ cup Granulated sugar
½ cup Boiling water; plus a little more

CARAMELIZED SUGAR SYRUP

From: Rebecca Radnor <japlady@...> Date: 6 Dec 1994 15:08:00 -0500 1. Lightly oil six 7- to 8-ounce capacity heat-proof cups. Set cups on trivet in steaming vessel, add hot water to come up to bottoms and leave on stove.

2. Heat milk and bay leaves to simmer in heavy saucepan over medium heat.

Turn heat to low and simmer uncovered until reduced to 3½ cups, about 20 minutes. Remove leaves, rinse and wipe clean. Set 1 fresh leaf or ½ a dried leaf in bottom of each cup, shiny side down. Set steamer over medium heat.

3. Combine eggs, egg white and Worcestershire in measuring cup. If not 1 cup, make up difference with more egg white. Turn into mixing bowl and whisk until blended, beating in as little air as possible (bubbles make holes in finished custard). Slowly pour through fine wire mesh strainer into clean bowl. Whisk in pepper and salt. Stir while pouring mixture into cups to keep pepper grains distributed. Pour gently, so leaf stays in place.

4. Lay foil over cups and cover vessel tightly. Steam, water barely simmering, until a metal skewer emerges clean just inside edge of cup, 17 to 20 minutes. Center should quiver slightly (eggs will continue cooking once out of steamer). Cover cups loosely with foil and refrigerate. May be unmolded after 4 hours or next day. When cool, cover cups tightly.

5. To unmold, run thin knife around custard, against sides of cup. Set small dish on top, turn over. If custard doesn't slip out, hold cup in place and whack gently but firmly on counter. Scrape any custard off leaf, remove scraps of custard and pour about 1 tablespoon caramelized sugar syrup over top.

CARAMELIZED SUGAR SYRUP:

1. Cook sugar in a broad skillet (preferably non-stick) over medium heat, shaking skillet frequently, until sugar melts completely and turns rich amber, about 5 minutes. Do not allow to get darker, or syrup will be bitter. Remove from heat and cool 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Add ½ cup boiling water, stirring with wooden spoon. Cook over low heat, stirring, until hardened caramel melts-be patient. Turn into measuring cup and add water to make ½ cup. Refrigerate in tightly covered jar.

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