Friday, July 20, 2012

Citrus & Honey Custard

Hello, friends. I'm about 20 minutes from heading down to Panama City with Will. We haven't seen each other since March, and the poor guy has only been to the beach once this summer. It looks like we're going to have beautiful weather for our trip. That is, it looks sunny and therefore hot as the dickens.

So you'd think that this far into summer I'd have some sort of icy granita or ice box cake. Something that didn't require a stove. Negative. But! This isn't your average custard. Instead of eggs, citrus juice thickens it and allows it to set in the fridge. And it's only on the stove about five minutes. It's actually quite perfect for summer.

Simple desserts mean simple ingredients. You need: lemon-lime juice, heavy cream, sugar, honey, lemon peel, and half a vanilla bean. I used a mixture of lemon and key lime juice since I had some limes left over, but you can use just lemon or regular limes. I used lemon peel because...well it was easier to peel.

It starts with the cream, sugar, and honey being heated on the stove. Bring it to a simmer, about 160ยบ.

While the cream mixture heats, scrape out the vanilla bean with the tip of a knife. Look how much you can get from just half a bean!

Add the lemon peel, vanilla bean, and the seeds you scraped out. Let it steep for 5 minutes and remove the bean and peel. The seeds will give you lovely specks.

Gently stir in the citrus juice. You'll see how it starts to thicken immediately.

Pour the custard into ramekins and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight (covered).

You'll get this creamy, tart custard at the end of it.

At first I thought it might be too rich for me to eat the whole thing, but I just kept scooping and scraping with my spoon.

Despite it using heavy cream, this custard is light and refreshingly tart thanks to the key limes. The background note of the honey adds just a touch of sweetness.

Citrus & Honey Custard (Makes 8 ounces- you can divide into 2 or 4 portions)
Adapted slightly from Bon Appetit

1 c heavy cream
1 tbs honey
1 1/2 tbs vanilla sugar (regular granulated sugar may be substituted)
1/2 vanilla bean, split and the seeds scraped out
3 inches of lemon peel
2 1/2 tbs citrus juice (Lemon, key lime, or Persian lime are recommended)

  • Set your ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Heat cream, honey, and sugar in a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a simmer. Add the lemon peel, vanilla bean, and the scraped seeds. Remove from the heat and steep 5 minutes.
  • Remove the peel and bean. Gently stir in the juice and pour into the ramekins. Refrigerate at least an hour or cover and refrigerate overnight.

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