Basic Caramel Custard

from the kitchen of Chef Paul Prudhomme

Makes 6 (1/2-cup) servings

With this basic recipe, flavored as it is with a bit of vanilla, you can enjoy a simple baked custard like your mama used to make.
ingredients
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
how to prepare

CARAMEL:  Be sure to have 6 custard cups nearby before you caramelize the sugar-the caramel goes in the bottom, and you'll need to work very quickly.  Heat the cup of sugar in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until the sugar melts and turns golden brown.  Don't worry if lumps develop-keep stirring and be sure the heat is not too high-and they will eventually melt.  Immediately remove the skillet from the heat and place 2 tablespoons of the caramelized sugar in the bottom of each custard cup. 

CUSTARD:  Preheat the oven to 300°.

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until well combined and smooth.  Divide the mixture evenly among the custard cups.  Place the filled cups in a large deep pan and fill the pan with enough hot water to come three-fourths of the way up the sides of the cups.  Bake until the custards are set, about 1 to 1½ hours.  To test for doneness, insert a knife into a custard; if it comes out clean, the custards are done.  Refrigerate before serving, but if you're like Mrs. Podunk you're going to want to eat it as soon as it's cool enough not to burn your mouth!

Copyright© 1995 by Paul Prudhomme