I thought I would share with you today an easy little boiled custard I tried from Mrs. Beeton’s book. Though it is over 150 years old I wanted to show that sometimes old recipes are fun to try. And this one couldn’t be easier. Here is my prep: a mixing bowl a pint of milk four eggs one TBS flour and some cinnamon.
This is the original recipe here:
Here I have mixed it up and simply poured in into a buttered mixing bowl. I don’t have any stoneware custard/pudding basins, but it is now on my list. I could have also used my metal pudding tins I use at Christmas for my Christmas pudding. As they have a convenient lock top and interesting shapes as well.
When it was removed from the boiling water bath and the cheesecloth removed. I had that feeling of Jurassic Park, reanimating something that has not been seen for some time since the past. When you boil this just do as for steaming, enough boiling water in a kettle to maybe reach 1/4 to 1/2 way up the bowl. You don’t want water going over or into your cheese cloth. That is why the closed tin for puddings would be even more foolproof. But, I have cheesecloth in my kitchen supplies and it felt appropriately enough Victorian to my tastes.
I wondered, when I tipped the bowl upside down, if I would just get a blobby mess, but no, there you go custard boiled! I have made custard many times the usual way with a double boiler and whisking and making sure of no curdling, but I must say it is so light and fluffy and really would be good served with a sauce poured on. It is a bit un-sweet to modern tastes, but some sugar and vanilla would fix that up a treat. And I really like it this way with strawberry jam. I think it might be fun to have at a tea or a brunch. Look at those light and fluffy crevasses close up, Yum!
We Americans are fine when reading old cookery books for we have refused to let go of our Imperial measurement system, I cannot say why. We therefore often rely upon cups and teaspoons to hold the volume of our recipe ingredients and don’t use scales as often. Though I still sometimes use a scale I have to admit a pinch and a measuring cup are often my easy go-to tools in the kitchen. And I am forever whispering to myself when baking, “2 cups to a pint, 2 pints to a quart, 4 quarts to a gallon”. Here is a fun little image I made showing some of the conversions.
This is a helpful conversion as well:
1 cup flour = 150g flour
1 cup butter = 240g butter
1 cup brown sugar = 180g brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar = 200g granulated sugar
1 cup icing sugar = 100g icing sugar
1 cup uncooked rice = 190g rice
1 cup chopped nuts = 150g chopped nuts
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs = 150g fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup sultanas = 200g sultanas
HERE you can find all of Mrs. Beeton’s book in audio. You can listen online or simply download and enjoy in the car or kitchen while preparing meals or having a tea break. It is a fun diversion and each chapter is read out by people of different countries and regions. It is a completely voluntary job and we must thank those who take the time to provide such content for us.
The free version of Mrs. Beeton unfortunately does not have the illustrations. However, one can find these and their chapters from the Preface to Chapter IV HERE. If anyone had original or older versions of this book, a scanner, some time and a good heart, you can log into this site and help the online world see more of Mrs. Beeton’s work fully illustrated. I love the shared aspect of the internet and hope as the future continues to hurl towards us we can keep the free equality of sharing and not be hampered by ownership laws too strict or unjust.
Now, speaking of recreating the past, the BBC have done some lovely historical re-creation shows. The latest is life on the War Time Farm chronicling a WWII era farm. The hosts are historians and scholars and have an actual interest in learning and appreciating the past. This is not the type of show where they take a modern city person and throw them into a situation for drama and TV affect. It is of actual historical interest and worth a look-see.