A while back I was looking for a basic paleo custard recipe. I was after pouring custard, a staple of the English winter pudding scene, but instead found a barrage of set custard pudding recipes. Chris isn’t a fan of egg custard, so I must apologise for subjecting him to a weekend of different custard puddings in an effort to find the best recipe.
Recipe one – Frozen Primal Custard from Mark’s Daily Apple
Not a bad litle recipe. It was reasonably quick to make up though measuring out that quantity of honey took an age and then the almond milk took longer than expected to bring to a simmer.
While honey is theoretically paleo, eating it in such quantities or too often doesn’t seem right. After all, honey and other sweet things (eg. fruit) would have been seasonal or one-off events, and honey is still essentially a sugar.
The recipe calls for the custard to be baked for about 40 mins at 170C/325F so I left it on the timer and did something else while it cooked. At the end of the time the water in the baking tray still came up to the top of the custard but the top half of each pot of custard had turned to a cake consistency (the bottom half remained as it should have been – a smooth and creamy custard). The surface of a couple of them had burnt a bit too so either the oven was too hot or the cooking time was too long. I would suggest reducing the cooking time a bit, or at least checking on it after the first 30 mins, and perhaps reducing the oven temperature to 160C too.
Thanks to getting 6 small pots of custard from the batch we tried eating it all three ways (hot out of the oven, cooled for a few hours in the fridge, frozen for more hours (overnight actually) in the freezer. How you choose to have it depends on what you want to eat it for, but my favourite has to be chilled (but unfrozen).
With the effort for measuring out the ingredients, the cost of the honey and the quantity of honey I probably wouldn’t put this recipe at the top of my list of regular puddings.
Recipe two – Caveman Custard from the Son of Grok
The bananas in this recipe are for the sweetness. Having tried it with two bananas I would probably drop this down to one banana. I’ve not got such a sweet tooth and it came out tasting strongly of bananas rather than egg custard. In addition to cutting down the bananas I would also recommend adding a teaspoon of vanilla to the mix.
For simplicity, this recipe definitely outdoes Mark Sisson’s almond milk recipe. Preparation is minimal and quick. However, what you get out at the other end is further away from traditional egg custard and more like a banana souffle.
The recipe calls for you to put them straight into the oven, whereas all other egg custard recipes I’ve come across get baked while stood in a tray of water. We tried both methods. The one baked without surrounding water swelled up like a souffle, came out slightly grey in colour and had a definite bready souffle texture. The one baked while standing in a tray of water didn’t rise and came out with a creamier texture – much closer to traditional egg custard, though still not quite there.
And the winner is…
For a quick pudding, the winner is Son of Grok with his Caveman Custard, but for a good egg custard recipe, the winner is definitely Mark Sisson! Here’s the recipe for Mark Sisson’s egg custard (for those who don’t want to follow all the links):
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups Original flavored almond milk
12 teaspoons (1/4 cup) light blue agave syrup* (or honey)
ground cinnamon or nutmeg
six petit creuset pots or other small stoneware dishes
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a saucepan, combine the milk and agave syrup. In another saucepan, heat 1-2 cups of water (or as much as you will need to fill the baking tray). Bring both pans to a simmer. Remove the milk and agave from heat. Lower the heat on the water and keep it warm.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla until yolks are very smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the warm milk and syrup to the eggs, whisk together until well combined.
- Using a sieve, pour egg mixture so it evenly settles in each dessert cup. Make sure to use oven safe dishes.
- Place dessert cups in a baking dish big enough so the dessert cups don’t touch one another. Pour hot water from the warm saucepan into the baking dish so that it comes up to the level of the custard on the outside of each individual dish. This water is to prevent the custard from burning. This step is very important.
- Slide the pan into the oven and bake until custards are set around the edges, about 40 minutes. Allow custards to further set by refrigerating for at least 2 hours. Or serve them right away, warm.