Makes 4 servings, thanks to David Lebovitz for such a wonderful recipe!
I tried various permutations; milk, cream, and half-and-half, and either works fine. I bake these in small portions, and since the bulk of dessert is fruit, I feel little guilt indulging in the richness of cream, which, of course, yields the smoothest result. If you use milk, they’ll cook somewhat faster, so keep an eye on them. See note at the end for advice on ensuring a smooth end result.
5 ounces (140g) fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1/2 cup (120ml) milk, cream, or half-and-half
2 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or 1/8 teaspoon extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).
2. Place four custard cups or ramekins in a deep baking dish or pan.
3. Blend together the goat cheese, sugar, milk (or cream), egg yolks, and vanilla for 30 seconds until very smooth.
4. Divide the mixture into the custard cups; each should be a bit more than half full.
5. Add warm tap water to the baking pan, to make a water bath for baking the custards. The water should reach to about halfway up the side of each custard cup.
6. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 15 to 20-minutes.
7. When done, remove the custards from the water bath and cool completely.
Storage & serving: Custards are best served at room temperature. They can be chilled up to two days in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, then brought to room temperature prior to serving. Top them with sliced berries and drizzle with the red wine syrup that follows below.
Note: Bake the custards until they just stop quivering loosely when you jiggle the pan. Don’t overbake them; if you’re unsure, remove them from the oven before you think they’re done and let them rest covered with foil. That usually does the trick, and they’ll glide gently into baked-custard perfection.
Red Wine Syrup
Makes 4 servings
You could add a speck of cinnamon, black pepper or some seeds from a vanilla bean to this reduction. Just remember that it’s going to cook down, so add a very small amount at the beginning, if you do. This is also a good way to use up leftover poaching liquid from fruit.
1/2 cup (125ml) red wine
3 tablespoons (50g) sugar
1/2 to 1 small basket of strawberries (about 4 ounces, 100g)
1. In a non-reactive skillet, cook the red wine and sugar until the bubbles get thick. Once the syrup is reduced to half its original quantity (1/4 cup, 60ml), remove from heat and scrape into a bowl to cool completely.
2. Rinse, hull, and slice strawberries. Toss in syrup, let stand for a minute to two, then spoon onto custards.
UPDATE: You can add almost any flavoring to this custard and have it turn out well. We tried Bolthouse mango puree yesterday, just tossed in an additional egg yolk to help firm up the added liquid. Fantastic. It’s also good with chocolate, caramel, Frangelico, lemon, strawberry jam….I could go on and on!