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Archive for Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bite Sighs: Apricot custard cups are sweet, crunchy comfort

September 18, 2013

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There are some days that you just feel like telling the Health Police to go jump in the lake while you curl up with comfort food. I’m not saying that this week has been rough, but I have had moments that made me give serious thought to downing shots of chocolate syrup.

Kids, don’t try that at home.

For those of you seeking the happy medium, I bring you these apricot custard cups. Rich and decadent but not too sweet, these single-serve treats combine cool and creamy with sweet and crunchy.

Are you intrigued? Let’s hit the kitchen!

Apricot custard cups with oatmeal crust.

Apricot custard cups with oatmeal crust.

Rather than make one big pie, which dries out after cutting and gets all rubbery in the fridge, I used the custard cups that were gathering dust, I mean, sitting in the cupboard.

The crust is pretty basic: 1 3/4 cups of oat flour — you can grind your own or purchase the ready-made kind. To this, add 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of ground allspice and 6 tablespoons of melted butter. Stir it all around until you have a crumbly mixture that holds together when you squeeze it.

Divide the crust mixture between six 10-ounce custard cups; 4 or 5 tablespoons per cup ought to do it. Press firmly on the bottom and up the sides a bit.

As an alternative, you can also use 4-inch springform pans to bake your custards, using just a teeny bit more crust mix in each one. Spread a tablespoon (more or less) of apricot pastry filling over the prepared crusts, being careful to leave a margin around the edges.

While your oven heats up to 325 degrees, break out your stand mixer and a medium bowl. Dump in three large eggs, one 12-ounce can of evaporated milk, one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, and a tablespoon of vanilla extract. Blend these together on medium speed for about two minutes.

Arrange your prepared custard cups on a baking sheet. This makes them easier to wrangle and protects your oven from possible spills. Set the loaded sheet on the center rack of your oven and bake for about 30 minutes. Bake them for a little longer, if need be. You’ll know that the custards are done when the centers are just barely set; they’ll shimmy a little, but they won’t make waves.

Transfer the cups to a rack to cool for 10 or 15 minutes, and then set them in the fridge to chill for a few hours before serving. Serve them right from the cups, or, if you’re using the mini-Springform pans, run a knife around the edges to unmold. Drizzle the custard with a little chocolate sauce for effect, and also because, hey, it’s chocolate!

These custards are best served the same day they’re made, but you can make them a day ahead of time. Once they’ve cooled in the fridge, place a layer of plastic wrap over the tops to prevent “skin” from forming.

Enjoy!

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