Breakfast Custards

IMG_0874Don’t we live in a beautiful place? We feel particularly grateful lately. The sun is out, the plum tree is in bloom, and the chickens are finally laying! We’re flush with eggs! Here we suddenly find ourselves in the sweet season of plenty. (We’re helped this time, by circumstances – our Heyday Egg subscription has overlapped with this onset of eggs from our own chickens.) Custards, puddings, pasta, and yes, even brioche have been happening in our kitchen lately.

Here’s a recipe that’s one of our favorites. Served to a neighbor recently, she labeled it “fancy,” but really it’s extremely simple. This custard is quick to make up, allows you enough time to shower while it’s baking in the oven, and, in our household, is child approved 100% of the time. We began with the recipe in The Breakfast Book and adapted it to our own taste. Hope that you enjoy it too! Here’s wishing you many eggs and a happy spring time!

Breakfast Custard

For four

1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. cream
4 eggs
2 tbls. maple syrup
dash of salt
unsalted butter, room temperature (for preparing ramekins)

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare four 1/2 c. ramekins by buttering the insides generously with your fingers. Set a tea pot of water on to boil.
  2. In a large measuring cup, whisk milk, cream, eggs, maple syrup, and salt together. (Or, alternatively, pulse with the immersion blender a few times.)
  3. Pour egg mixture into the buttered ramekins. Place ramekins in a 9 x 9 glass pan.
  4. Fill pan with boiling water until it reaches halfway up the ramekins.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Serve in ramekin or unmolded onto plate.

first blue eggNotes:

  • This recipe easily reduces for two eaters (or even one.)
  • Adjust maple to your own taste. Maybe you like it sweeter?
  • Want to try a savory custard? (It’s a great way to sneak veggies past a sneaky eater, but you didn’t hear that from me.)
  • Of course, this is much better with a little Hitchcock bacon sprinkled on top.

Homemade Noodles for Soup

What says, “I love you,” better than homemade noodles in homemade soup? Nothing. Add these to your favorite soup and improve someone’s day.

Makes 1 pound of thick, hand cut noodles – enough for a big pot of soup.

6. oz. AP flour
1 tbls. + 1 tps. butter
1/8 tsp. salt
2 whole eggs + 2 more yolks

  1. In a large bowl, mix salt and flour together. With your fingers, rub the butter into the flour (creating a “crumby” consistency.”)
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and the yolks. Gently mix into the flour mixture until it comes together. Use your hands and knead to make sure that the flour is evenly incorporated (Stretch the dough apart looking for wet spots if it doesn’t seem that all of the flour from the bottom of the bowl is being used.)doughball
  3. Divide the dough into four pieces. With a rolling pin, roll each piece out flat, sprinkling with flour and stretching it out as you go.
  4. Let each sheet rest on a pasta rack for 20 minutes (or create a makeshift way to drape a sheet of dough – over the side of a large mixing bowl works well.)
  5. Start with one sheet. Be sure that both sides are floured. Gently roll it up and cut ribbons with your knife or pizza wheel.image
  6. Cut across into smaller pieces. Repeat with each sheet.image
  7. Add your noodles to soup about 5-10 minutes before the end of its cooking time.
  • If you want to go for speed, use a pasta roller instead of a imagehand cutting the noodles. Decide what thickness you would like and create a more consistently shaped noodle.
  • These noodles, unlike dried noodles, don’t really absorb any extra liquid from your soup. They hold up well for reheating.
  • Need a good chicken soup recipe? Start with homemade stock and add what you like.
  • Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Baked Eggs

I think one of the best things about a day off of work is having an unhurried  breakfast. Here’s a quick dish that you can make for yourself (and tastes fancy enough to serve to friends.) It’s reminiscent of the flavors in a dish that I used to get at Toulouse Petit, a fantastic breakfast place. Someday I’ll work on recreating that meal, but for now here’s the lazy version.

Baked Eggs

For 1 or more-

Butter a ramekin. Dice a small piece of ham and scatter it in the bottom of the ramekin. Crack your egg in. (Don’t scramble or stir.) Sprinkle Parmesan or other spunky, grated cheese over the top. Add salt and pepper. Drizzle on about 1 tbls. of cream. Bake your egg at 325F for 10-12 minutes. 

-If you’re baking an egg just for yourself, skip the post-breakfast scrubbing by using a muffin paper in the ramekin. (Don’t butter it, just crack your egg right in the paper.)
-Friends coming for brunch? Bake your eggs in a muffin tin.
-Make this recipe your own by adding herbs, leaving out the meat, or experimenting in any other way.

Vegetable Souffle (in a jar)

My experiment with soufflé began accidentally. I had hungry people to feed and nothing much to make for dinner.

It turned out surprisingly well, and so I thought I would share it with you if you ever find yourself having to make dinner out of nothing. This is one of those very flexible recipes. Use it as a basic formula and make it your own. If you’re looking for a richer cousin of this recipe, try this.

I didn’t have 1-cup souffle ramekins, so I tried mason jars and was pleased with the results.

Makes 8 1-cup soufflés.

1 head of broccoli (or any veg)
2 oz. cheese (Any cheese will do. Reach into the back of the drawer, use this as an opportunity to get rid of some forgotten bits and pieces. If you’re lucky, you’ll find some of this.)
5 oz. milk
5 oz. cream
6 eggs
1 tsp. kosher salt
ground pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and butter your jars. (I used a variety of jars as an experiment. Eight ounce jelly jars looked the prettiest, but they all worked well.)
  2. Prepare the vegetable. For broccoli, separate the stem from the florets. Chop the stem and steam for about 2 minutes. Add the florets and steam for one more minute. In your food processor or with a knife,  finely chop both the stem and florets. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Grate cheese. Add to the bowl of broccoli. Add milk, cream, and pepper.
  4. Separate eggs. Add your whites to the bowl of your mixer and the yolks to the bowl with the broccoli mixture. Mix the broccoli mixture well.
  5. Add the salt and beat the egg whites until they stand tall.
  6. In thirds, fold the egg whites into the broccoli mixture.
  7. Divide evenly between your jars, adding about 1 cup in each jar.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes.

Notes: I made two 2-cup soufflés in larger bowls and they cooked for the same amount of time as the 1-cup soufflés.

Potato Cabbage Gratin

We took a field trip over to the Ballard farmers’ market last weekend and got, among other delicious things, some beautiful cabbages. This recipe, a filling main dish, is almost straight out of Local Flavors.

1 pound yellow potatoes (about 3-4)
about 1 pound green cabbage
4 tbls. butter, plus more for dish
1 garlic clove
1 1/3 cups milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup grated cheese (Parmesan or other hard, white cheese)
1/3 cup AP flour
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter a 2 quart baking dish. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  2. Peel and slice potatoes to 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Slice the cabbage roughly into ribbons.
  4. Add potatoes and 1 tbls. salt to water.  Boil for 5 minutes. Remove potatoes to a bowl.
  5. Drop cabbage into water and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cabbage from water and place on an old dish cloth. Squeeze out as much excess water as you can.
  6. Melt butter in small skillet and toss garlic in for one minute.
  7. Gently toss cabbage, potatoes, butter and garlic,  and salt and pepper (to taste) together.  (Your potatoes may break up a little, but no worries, it will all bake up nicely.) Pour into baking dish.
  8. Whisk milk, eggs, cheese, and flour together. Pour over potato mixture. (Reserve a little cheese to sprinkle on top.)
  9. Bake  for 50 minutes and cool slightly before serving.

4 to 6 servings
We served it with crusty bread and sausage, but this could easily be a vegetarian main.

Apple Pancake

Here’s a quick and lovely dish to serve up to guests for breakfast. It falls somewhere on the taste spectrum between a pancake and french toast.

Serves 4-6

1. Peel, core, and slice 4 medium apples. In a large cast iron skillet, melt 1 1/2 tbls. butter. Add apples. Cook apples over medium-low heat for a total of ten minutes.

2. In a large measuring cup or bowl, add in this order:

2/3 c. milk
2/3 c.cream
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs

3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbls. sugar
3/4 c. flour

3. At this point, you can hold the apples and batter until the rest of your meal is done. When ready, pour the batter over the batter, starting at the edges and pouring towards the inside. Bake at 425F for 17 minutes.


  • I served this with scones and bacon for a full meal. You can dress it up with an apple or maple syrup, but it is fine by itself.

Plum Clafoutis

Last summer, my best friend and I found ourselves stomping around NYC. We were lucky enough to find a floor to sleep on which was right around the corner from the Sweet Melissa Patisserie. Oh, the scones! Everything that we ate there was delicious (and beautiful.) Luckily, for those of us far away from Brooklyn, Melissa Murphy has written a book. If you have a baker in your life, and you’re looking for an obscure book to give as a gift, try this one. Every recipe that I have made from it, and I am indeed working my way through the chapters, from ‘Dessert for Breakfast’ to ‘Sunday Supper’s Grand Finale,’ has been easy to put together and decadent.

Plums abound here. We had beautiful, full bags yesterday at the ferry farm stand and I know many farmers, including Dropstone Farms, are selling them down at the Saturday farmers’ market. Our tree produced a lot this year and I made this dessert, adapted from the Sweet Melissa book, with the last of them. It’s one of those desserts that you can make on a whim. It takes only a few minutes to put together. You can serve it warm or cold, and it tastes very different, depending on your choice.

Plum Clafoutis

3 tbls. butterplum clafoutis
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
about 10 small plums, cut into eighths (or as many will fill the bottom of your skillet)

6 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. AP
3/4 c. cream
3/4 c. whole milk
1/2 tsp. almond extract

3 tbls. sliced almonds
confectioners’ sugar (optional for finishing)

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Melt butter. Whisk in the sugar and cinnamon and cook for about a minute. Add plums and cook until the skins begin to loosen, about 4 minutes.
  3. In  a large measuring cup, whisk eggs, sugar, AP, cream, milk and extract.
  4. Remove the plums from the heat. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, beginning from the outer edge and pouring into the center. Stir gently. (You should have some lovely purple swirls.)
  5. Sprinkle almonds around the outside edge.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.