Vanilla Bean Custard

So, a couple weeks ago I mentioned my new favorite ingredient, vanilla bean paste:

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I purchased this at Williams Sonoma after attending one of their free morning cooking technique classes; this class in particular was about vanilla, and one of the recipes given to us that day was for crème brulee. Since then, I have not been able to get the idea of making a crème brulee out of my head, and finally decided to make a variation of the recipe.

We do not have a kitchen torch, so what I made is considered to be vanilla custard. However, in my opinion, it was equally delicious, thick and creamy, with only a few ingredients needed to truly allow the flavors of the vanilla to shine. With the vanilla bean paste, you can actually see specks of vanilla bean in the custard.

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They’re in there, I promise.

You could make so many different custard flavors with this recipe base. I am already thinking about chocolate, pumpkin (of course), and almond, to name a few. Or you can simply choose to enjoy the simplicity of the classic vanilla version. This custard can also be used as a filling for tarts, pastries, and a variety of other desserts.

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Vanilla Bean Custard

  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or ½ vanilla bean)
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Have a pot of boiling water ready.

Add vanilla bean paste to 2 quart saucepan. Add the cream, stir to mix and set the pan over medium-low heat. Warm the cream until bubbles form around the edges of the pan and steam begins to rise from the surface. Remove from the heat and set aside, about 3-5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, salt, and the ¼ cup sugar until smooth and blended. Gradually add the cream to the egg mixture, whisking until blended. Divide the custard among 3-4 5 or 6 oz inch ramekins, or 2 souffle dishes (this is what I used). In 13×9 inch baking pan, place ramekins and fill bottom of pan halfway up sides of ramekins with boiling water. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until custard is just set around the edges, 35-40 minutes.

Allow ramekins to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 hours, and up to 3 days.

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