madonna del piatto

Italian family cooking


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orange scented custard with flambé berries

please throw away that custard powder and make this instead

There is always a point in the winter when I can’t eat one more apple. When I go to the market I longingly look at those petrified mangoes dreaming of their sexy flavor. Just for once, I tell them, could you please have some  flavor?

I hopefully examine those half-white strawberries. No hope. I don’t even look at the plastic plums. It’s February for heaven’s sake. Plums will be in season in September here. Where are you coming from little Frankesteins? I am a low-carbon-print girl, I am a seasonal girl, I really cannot bring myself to do it. Buy the out of season monsters. No, I don’t.

The Mind is strong however, but the Body is weak. The Body screams: PEACH! CHERRY! LOQUAT! FIGS!

So I go to the fridges, I get myself a bag of frozen berries, they are good for you, aren’t they, with all the antioxidants. I go home and I make myself some custard, it’s even wheat-free, dessert can hardly get any healthier. I make it in the microwave in two minutes. Then I can have some fruit. Sort of.

Recipe

Custard:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tabsp corn starch
  • 1 tabsp sugar
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • zest of 1/2 organic un-waxed orange or 1 tabsp orange marmalade

Using a tall glass container heat the milk and the orange zest until hot to the touch, about 2 min. Alternatively blend the orange marmalade in a few tablespoon of milk until smooth, add the rest of the milk and then heat it up.

Using electric whisks, in a different tall container, whisk egg yolk, sugar and starch until smooth. Remove the orange zest from the milk. While whisking the yolk, add the hot milk, first one tablespoon at the time until smooth and then all the rest. Transfer the mixture into the microwave and heat for one minute.  Quickly stir, then microwave for one more minute or until the mixture is almost at boiling point. Whisk again. At this point the custard should be thick and smooth. Set aside to cool and refrigerate if using later in the day.

Flambe berries:

  • 2 cups whole frozen red berries.
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons orange liqueur or limoncello
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • juice of half a lemon or orange

You need a heavy bottomed non-reactive pan which you need to make very hot before adding anything to it. Stainless steel  or copper is good.

As soon as the pan is very warm add the butter.  When it starts sizzling, add berries, lemon juice and sugar. The frozen berries will defrost instantly without loosing their shape. You want to glaze them with sugar, you don’t want to make jam! Add liqueur from a small glass. The mixture will flambé. If it doesn’t, your pan was not hot enough, but it’s not a problem. Just reduce the liqueur until syrupy, one more minute. Turn off the fire as soon as the flames subside and serve on the cold custard.

Serves 2-3

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