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Easy baked custards, topped with nectarine syrup

February 14, 2011

I received the cutest, most delicious nectarines from my parents’ tree. No, truly. I’ve never had nectarines that are so sweet – they seem to get sweeter every year. They’re small, only about the size of a large soup spoon, but my my, they pack a blast of tangy, intense sweetness. Aside from just eating them plain and with my oatmeal in the morning with honey, I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pair them with something creamy and vanilla speckled. These strawberry vanilla custards looked perfect, I’d just use the nectarines and cook them in a little slightly-caramelised-syrup with a splash of vanilla. Plus they are surprisingly easy (just whisk, pour and bake) and only feature a few ingredients, all of which will yield no “leftovers” except for 3 egg whites, which isn’t too excessive. This is one recipe which I will make again and again!

Needless to say the nectarines were a faint-worthy topping for these rich and silky puddings. The custard itself was unbelievably smooth, rich and creamy, with just the right touch of sweetness and of course, a heady vanilla aroma. Definitely the smoothest, most melt-in-your-mouth custard I’ve ever had, although despite being made with pure cream, it wasn’t as gluggy as I’d expected. Sigh. I can’t wait to make this again.

Baked custards topped with syrupy fruit

makes 4-5, depending on ramekin size

custards:

  • 3 egg yolks (remember you can freeze the whites and use normally once defrosted! Just remember to label how many are in the container, and note the container weight so you know how much white is in there if you need a gram-based measurement)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs caster sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped*
  • 300ml whipping cream

* Don’t throw this out! Add to your vanilla extract bottle for the rest of the flavour to seep into the extract. Omnom.

Preheat oven to 160C (320F).

Whisk egg yolks, sugar and vanilla together until everything is combined. Whisk in cream. Pour into ramekins (you can fill them almost to the top or 3/4 of the way if you want an extra to sneak into your bedroom. Place ramekins in a roasting tray (I used my 8×8″ brownie tin), then half fill the roasting tray with hot water. Place setup carefully into centre of oven, and bake 30 minutes until set but still wobbly (I stuck a knife in the centre and the knife came out clean, but they all had a substantial wobble). If you want them more solid, bake further (the original recipe got away with 50 minutes! It depends on how thick you make them). Cool in the roasting tray until warm. Then top with syrupy fruit (see below), and serve.

syrupy fruit (make this while the custards are baking):

  • 1 nectarine cut into slivers, or a handful of strawberries, blueberries or raspberries. Cherries, peach, apricot, plum or pear would also work.
  • sprinkling of caster sugar
  • about 1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat a small saucepan or frypan (with a reflective or white cooking surface) on medium low heat. Add a thin, even layer of caster sugar over the surface of the pan. Once it starts to melt and turn golden/yellow, add the fruit and a splash of water. Let bubble until the colour of the fruit begins to leach into the syrup. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cover, and set aside to cool.

I really hope you have a spatula for scraping the syrup out, because wasting a drop really would be sacrilege.

By the way, most teacups will work in the oven, but pick oven safe ones just in case.

Enjoy!

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2011 2:09 pm

    So beautiful! These look like the perfect summer dessert, simple but very chic and elegant, not to mention they look absolutely delicious. I’m so jealous about the nectarines- I wish I lived somewhere where I could grow them.

    And I have to add- that spoon is lovely!

  2. February 16, 2011 5:49 pm

    C: Thank you :) They taste heavenly! You could use pretty much any fruit (well…lots of fruits) so hope you try them one day!

  3. February 17, 2011 7:34 pm

    Wow, that looks really great! I’m such a big fan of peaches! Makes me miss summer!

  4. February 19, 2011 5:23 am

    These look lovely! And I had no idea you could freeze egg whites!

  5. February 19, 2011 5:42 am

    Thanks. http://wp.me/p1fsVD-8Y

  6. February 19, 2011 9:21 am

    Ch: I was thinking for winter, some mandarin segments in syrup would be pretty tasty as well…

    F: Cheers, and yes it changed the way I looked at recipes!

    CM: Thanks for the linkage and letting me know :)

  7. ericascime permalink
    February 20, 2011 8:33 am

    These look too beautiful to eat! Although, I would happily eat them :)

  8. February 21, 2011 11:00 am

    Mmmm! I’ve never made a custard before. I can’t wait to try this! :)

  9. February 22, 2011 12:33 am

    First visit to your blog and it’s lovely! I love your use of parenthetical statements (my husband hates it when I use them) as they are explanatory and instructive as well as entertaining. Love the Food Tips too. Thanks for the beautifully photographed post.

  10. February 22, 2011 12:30 pm

    Woooww great shot!! look very chic!!

  11. February 22, 2011 5:35 pm

    Mmm, those look great. I love your photos.

  12. February 23, 2011 8:07 am

    I adore eating custard but I’ve never heard of Nectarine Syrup before, until now. This really looks amazing with the custard. I have to give this recipe a try.

    • February 24, 2011 7:49 pm

      Yep, almost any fruit can be made to make syrup, just add sugar and water really. Yummers.

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