December Meal of the Month: Roasted Garlic Custard
You can roast the garlic a day ahead of time and keep it refrigerated until you are ready to prepare the custard. Oven roasting garlic brings out their sugars.
- 4 large heads of garlic
- 1 c. unsalted chicken stock, heated
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- 2/3 Cup half & half, warmed
- 1 Cup whole milk, warmed
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 Tablespoons coarse bread crumbs, toasted
- boiling water for baking
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove excess loose peel from the heads of garlic; slice off the top quarter of each. Place each, root end down, on a square of aluminum foil; pull corners up and twist; roast in the center of the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes, depending on size and freshness of the garlic. when the garlic is fully roasted, the packet should be soft and pliable, like a tube of toothpaste.
- Peel aluminum foil back, and twist into a knob at the root end; place on a dinner-sized plate. Run hot water over the flat side of a chef's knife. Garlic sugars developed during roasting are sticky; moisture makes extraction less messy. Grasp the foil-covered garlic in one hand, and the wet knife in the other. With the sharp edge of the knife away from you and the dull edge toward the root, press down on the roasted garlic head with the broad side of the blade, tilt the blade up, and push out with the back edge; the roasted cloves should slip easily onto the plate. Remove any remaining garlic skin with wet fingers.
- Remove the garlic from the foil, and squeeze the flesh out onto a plate, taking care to remove any skin that may stick to it. it's easier to do this while the garlic is still warm.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Heat the chicken stock, butter, salt, pepper, and roasted garlic, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced in volume by three-fourths. While the stock/garlic mixture is reducing, combine the half & half with the milk in a medium saucepan and warm over medium heat.
- Beat the eggs and yolk together in a small bowl until light. Add a bit of the warmed cream and milk in the saucepan. This technique is called tempering and helps keep sauces from curdling or separating.
- Add the garlic/chicken reduction to the tempered cream, eggs, and milk, and blend well.
- Put a strainer in a larger container and pour the mixture through it, using the backside of a metal spoon or the bottom of a ladle to press the liquid through. Scrape any excess from the underside of the strainer and whisk into the custard mixture.
- butter 6; 4-inch or 8; 3-inch ramekins, coat with toasted crumbs, and evenly space in the bottom of a deep-sided baking pan. Ladle custard mixture into the prepared ramekins, carefully place the pan in the middle of the preheated oven, and add boiling water to 1/4 inch below the top of the ramekins. bake in the water bath for 30 minutes until firm, slightly puffed, and lightly browned, or until a knife blade inserted into the custard comes out clean. Place the hot ramekins on a doily or napkin-lined plate and serve.