Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fried Custard Squares and Patient Spouse.



As a working-from-home mother of a 5 month old, I have found that my cooking or baking opportunities come when one would least expect. For instance, my husband gets home around 6pm, and do I have dinner waiting on the table for him? no. Do I hand him the baby and get to work in the kitchen? nope. Normally the two of us will hem and haw about dinner options for an hour until he makes dinner while I prop my feet up... or I'll quickly dash out of the house (escape!!!) to pick up salads from Chipotle. This is the case at least 3 days out of the work-week. Sounds like I take it pretty easy, huh? Much to my husband's admonishment, that is not always the case. 

Somewhere around 9pm, when the baby is FINALLY asleep and we should have already completed our kitchen time, I get an urge to say, make the Chocolate Honey Torte I saw in a magazine while resting my feet earlier. And the GREATEST THING ABOUT THAT URGE... the thing that I have just recently come to realize, is that just by keeping a few staples about my kitchen, I can just about bake any recipe I want WHENEVER I want. It's amazing! Baking powder? Check! Chocolate chips? Check! almond extract? Check! Eggs, brown sugar and orange zest? Yessiree bob. 

Even better than being able to bake most recipes at any time, I've found that most recipes I want to bake don't even take that long... or at least they aren't supposed to. My husband Ryan and I are currently balancing two television series through our Netflix que - West Wing and the Wire. Most of my baking urges come when we've paused the DVD to say, check on the baby or run to the bathroom. In the back of my mind the urge for something sweet and fun has been building for the first 20 minutes of the show... and as soon as we hit that pause button and Ryan is otherwise occupied, I quietly toddle into the kitchen and quickly pull out and measure oats or chocolate or what have you. After about 5 minutes he'll call into the kitchen - "What are you doing?" and I'll say "Getting dessert!" Five or so more minutes will pass and he yells "What's taking so long? Get your butt back out here!" And I'll say "OK, I'm almost done!" At which time I'm normally starting up the electric mixer and he KNOWS he's in for the world's longest commercial break. 10-15 minutes later (after my moderately patient husband has resorted to expletives) and I'm pouring or scooping whatever it is in to it's prepared baking dish and popping it into the oven. At this point I saunter back into the livingroom, proud as can be and spend the next 5 minutes trying to get Ryan to stop playing "Fishing" or "Jelly Car" on his Iphone. Fifteen or so minutes later we have a homemade treat and finally get back to our DVD!

A couple of weeks ago one such nighttime recipe I whipped up was Tessa Kiros' Fried Custard Squares. Grace has previously cited Mrs. Kiros' book Apples for Jam, and all I can say is to expect much more AFJ experiments from this blog. Its a visually inviting book that seems so simplistic with ingredients you can't help but try it's recipes! I followed this recipe closely which is unusual for me. My only ingredient change was organic orange rind instead of lemon and everything came out delicious! I did not wait quite long enough for the custard to set so it was more like "Fried Custard Misshapes" but they sure were tasty. Once all the little suckers were fried up I decided they needed a fruity boost and made a quick berry sauce (frozen organic berries, a little water and a shake of sugar on the stove) to pour overtop of 2 or three of the squares and voila! It turned from a grab-em-while-they're-hot dessert to a bona fide serve-it-on-a-pretty-little-plate fork dessert. Its also easy to see how fun these in their original form would be as a traditional holiday snack for little kiddos - Tessa knows whats up.

1 comment:

  1. Ever since I read this I have been thinking about fried custard squares a LOT. Not cooking them, just eating them. I wish there was a place where I could get fried custard squares to go.

    By the way, there was a feature article in the recent Gourmet magazine about kolaches and they talked about a place in Austin! I'll have to find the article so I can tell you the name so you can go there.

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