Mix eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a bowl until blended.
I Scald milk in a double boiler by heating it to just below simmering. To scald means to heat just below the boiling point.
^ Slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture. Be sure to stir it constantly.
Q Skim off any bubbles that form on top of the custard. Pour the custard into cups that are arranged in a shallow hotel pan.
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^ Bake the custard at 325°F (163°C) for the length of time indicated in the formula or until it is set. It should have the consistency of firm gelatin.
Remove the custard from the oven, being careful not to spill the hot water. Cool, label, date, and then store the custard covered in the refrigerator.
Stirred and Baked Custards
A stirred custard is made on the range in a double boiler or saucepan. To keep the custard from overcooking, it must be stirred constantly. These custards, therefore, do not set as firmly as baked custards do. Stirred or baked custard is used as a dessert sauce, or can become part of a more complex dessert.
Baked Custard Baked custards work on the same principle as stirred custards. The eggs must coagulate and the custard must become thick, not runny. Thickening occurs during the baking process. If over baked, the protein in the eggs coagulates too much. This leads to a curdled, broken, and watery custard. Custards should be taken from the oven when the center is still slightly fluid.
Smooth Custard Add small amounts of hot liquid gradually while beating the egg and liquid mixture to keep the custard from curdling. When custard curdles, the eggs separate from the solids, making it tough. A bain marie, or a water bath, is used to insulate the custard pan so that the custard does not bake too quickly. When baking, keep the oven at a low setting between 325°F and 350°F (163°C and 177°C). Double boilers should be kept at between 165°F and 170°F (74°C and 77°C).
A good pudding results from careful preparation and a trusted recipe. The most common dessert puddings in foodservice operations are starch-thickened and baked.
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