26 March 2007

That Fruit Salad with Custard

OK, I have to write another quick post about that fruit salad. We stopped by the fruit cart on 57th and 1st on our way back from a walk. I had seen some cheap asparagus and dead cheap ugli fruit on our way out, and wanted to stop back in. The asparagus was cheap and rightly so. It was just on the verge, and the stalks were very thin. Still, they taste like asparagus, so that's why you use them for soup. I bought six ugli fruit for $4, but they turned out to be a little bitter and not very sweet. Still, maybe I can resurrect them with a bath in some honey. I think M might be permanently put off.

It was then that we decided that fruit salad would make a nice dessert. We got a red papaya and a couple of melons and some huge black grapes. One of the uglis made it into the bowl, but mostly this was about melon, papaya, and grapes. They were all incredibly good. This guy has a good eye for fruit. They were also relatively cheap, and not supporting the highway robbery of D'agostino's is an added benefit.

I pulled a recipe for creme anglaise out of my Cooking A to Z (still lamentably out of print). I had already beaten a couple of whole eggs, so I couldn't follow the recipe as it was written, but it worked out anyway.

Creme Anglaise

2 cups half-n-half
1 vanilla bean, preferably Bourbon vanilla, split
2 eggs, plus two egg yolks
3 tbsp sugar

Put the vanilla bean in the half-n-half and put it over low heat. Don't worry about a skin forming, as you'll be straining this anyway, but make sure it doesn't burn. Meanwhile, put a pot of water on to boil, and get out two metal bowls, one big, one small.

Put some ice, coarse salt, and water in the large bowl. In the small bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until they're lemon-yellow. Take the split vanilla bean out of the heated half-n-half and scrape out the black paste of tiny seeds inside, returning the paste to the pot and throwing away the husk. Put the small bowl with eggs over the boiling water, and pour in the heated cream. Whisk briskly until thickened (enough to coat the back of a dessert spoon you dip into it.

makes 3 cups

I absolutely adore fruit and custard. I grew up on Birds Custard and canned peaches. This is fancier, but still the same concept. Cream and vanilla make chopped fruit special. Thank you also, to Chocolate & Vanilla for turning me on to Vanille de Mayotte. Good vanilla is as important as good chocolate. (Good vanilla is often in good chocolate, too.)

I gotta start taking pictures of this stuff!

1 comment:

Lisa T said...

re: your pasta post, check out the Zingerman's website for kicks... just don't spend too much money! An old favorite from childhood, Zingerman's is where I first heard about non-teflon dyes for more "grabby" pasta.