The first "big" rain of the season fell in the Bay Area today. Of course, my evening commute home was terrible (as it always is during the first rain). But it was made less terrible by the song stylings of Ella and Sarah. That’s Fitzgerald and Vaughan, respectively (and respectfully). Classic jazz standards sung by these legends soothe me and make my commute almost bearable.
This first autumn rain was the perfect occasion for a soothing dessert like baked custard. Smooth and creamy with a hint of sweetness and the amazing fragrance of vanilla. Custard is a truly wonderful comfort food that can only be improved when accompanied by a steaming cup of coffee and great jazz music.
Baked Vanilla Custard
2 cups half-and-half
(or 1 cup whole milk + 1 cup heavy cream)
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300F.
Pour the half-and-half in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until well mixed. Slowly add the hot half-and-half to the egg mixture, making sure to whisk well. Strain custard through a sieve to remove any large bits of egg.
Pour the mixture into four 6-ounce ramekins. Place the ramekins in a roasting pan and add enough hot water to come up halfway the sides of the ramekins. (I line the bottom of my roasting pan with a kitchen towel to keep the ramekins from sliding around. I make sure my towel is completely submerged in water otherwise it can burn.)
Bake custard at 300F for 40 minutes or until the custard is just set.