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I ended up making these twice. The first time around I tried to make a healthier version by using 2% milk instead of whole milk. I think I over baked them a bit and found the whole combination lacking flavor. So, back to the drawing board I went.
When I set out to make these the second time, I caved and used the whole milk and I added additional lemon zest, the lemon extract, and a vanilla bean.
The flavor was definitely much improved the second time around. However, this was not my favorite Dorie recipe. I think my main issue was the texture, which was too eggy for me. I would have enjoyed this more if it was a pudding instead of a custard. I prefer the smooth creaminess of a pudding. To jazz it up a bit, we decided some pyrotechnics were in order. So we turned one of the custards into a crème brûlée (I know, I know, there is only whole milk and not cream in there), which was actually quite tasty and the crunchiness of the sugar helped me get over the eggy custard texture.
Overall, I enjoyed the flavor of these, but I learned here that I just don’t love a custard. If you do, this is definitely something you should try.
See my adapted recipe and pictures (including the curdling of my milk) after the jump.
Vanilla Lemon Custard or Crème Brûlée
Adapted by Sara at Imafoodblog from Dorie Greenspan’s Lemon Cup Custard
Here are my eggs and sugar:
And the curdled portion of my milk mixture. My milk actually separated somewhat while cooking, I think partially because of the acidity of the lemon zest and I potentially had it on too high a heat. When this happened, I was ready to trash it and forget about this dessert, but Nick reconstituted my milk with a vigorous whisking and I continued.
I strained the milk again a second time for good measure, and as you can see, this was a smart idea:
My double strained milk mixture:
And my fully tempered custard:
Out of the oven in their ice bath:
Fire…Fire….Fire…(I used about a soup spoons worth of sugar to brulee this bad boy, you should also bring the custard to room temperature before torching.)
Looks pretty good, if I do say so myself!