Lately I've been thinking about my friend Sue. Sue was a nurse I worked with for many years. She was very intelligent, very funny and a devoted friend. Unfortunately, I lost Sue many years ago to cancer. She lived with cancer for a long time, before it finally got her. During the times she was receiving radiation, her throat would be so sore she could hardly eat. However, one thing she could eat was this egg custard and I would make it for her on a regular basis. Luckily, she liked it and really needed the high calorie count to keep her going. So now I am posting this recipe in Sue's memory. May her memory be eternal!
2 cups cream, heated to scalding
1/2 cup sugar (for a caramel flavor, use dark brown sugar)
pinch of salt
4 egg yolks and 1 whole egg
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and have a pan of boiling water on stand-by. Beat the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, salt and vanilla together. Add just a small amount of the hot cream, about 1/4 cup, beating constantly. Continue adding small amounts of the hot cream, beating well each time, until you have about half of it beat in, then add the remaining cream and beat well. Evenly distribute the egg and cream mixture into custard cups and place in a deep pan. Carefully pour the boiling water around the custard cups until it comes about half way up the sides of the cups. Carefully place the pan in the preheated oven and bake about 20-30 minutes. Test the custard for doneness by inserting a knife in the middle of the custard and if it comes out clean it is done. Do not overbake, it would be better to slightly underbake instead. The custard will still be a bit "jiggly", but it will firm up as it cools. Remove the cups from the pan of water and allow to cool on a towel or rack. When completely cool, cover and chill in the fridge.
Options: If you like, before placing the custard in the oven sprinkle a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg on top of the unbaked custard.
For a maple flavor, use 1/2 cup real maple syrup in place of the sugar. I use syrup from Max Lown and think it is the best maple syrup I've ever tasted. You can order from their website. http://lownfamilymaplesyrup.com/
For a less rich custard, replace the cream with whole milk or half&half and omit the extra egg. If you prefer a stiffer custard, replace the egg yolks with 2 whole eggs, using 3 eggs total. I do not suggest using skim or 2% milk for this recipe. As for replacing the sugar, you can use the same amount of Splenda instead.