`Olive Oil in Custards - Olive Oil Times

Olive Oil in Custards

By Angela Bell
Sep. 16, 2012 16:54 UTC

Photo: Herman Saksono

Gourmands are most famil­iar with vari­a­tions of cus­tard based del­i­ca­cies served in fine din­ing restau­rants, usu­ally desserts that fall under the cat­e­gory of cus­tard cook­ing whether it is crème brûlée, bread or rice pud­ding, flan or baked cus­tard.

An uncom­mon olive oil fla­vored cream with a vel­vety fin­ish

Some are thick­ened while being stirred on the stove top while oth­ers are baked in a water bath and served with burnt sugar (brûlée), or they are frozen (ice cream or gelato) and served as a side item to melt over a steam­ing slice of apple pie.

Now, olive oil fla­vored cus­tards are mak­ing their way onto the menus of celebrity chefs and award-win­ning restau­rants where they are served in any course, from an amuse-bouche with an aper­i­tif to the lat­est addi­tion to the clas­sic seven-course meal — an after-dessert course served with cheese and for­ti­fied wine or brandy.

Basic cus­tards and creams, whether crème anglaise, pas­try cream or a baked cus­tard, have four ingre­di­ents in com­mon; eggs, milk, sugar and a fla­vor­ing such as vanilla bean, cin­na­mon stick or espresso cof­fee beans. Think gin­ger ice cream or choco­late pot de crème. But, when the fla­vor­ing is your favorite tast­ing extra vir­gin olive oil, the once com­mon vanilla cus­tard becomes an uncom­mon olive oil fla­vored cream with a vel­vety fin­ish, such that one would expect from a fine ruby red Cabernet Sauvignon or clas­sic Chianti.

Two of my favorites are olive oil ice cream and lemon fla­vored olive oil pot de crème. In either case, the qual­ity of the olive oil is impor­tant to the fin­ished fla­vor so choose an extra vir­gin olive oil that tick­les your tongue and pam­pers your palate. Taste is sub­jec­tive and fla­vor is the direct result of aroma. The more aro­matic the olive oil, the more impres­sive the fla­vor.

The basic cus­tard recipe calls for cream­ing eggs and sugar, scald­ing milk or cream, tem­per­ing and com­bin­ing. Flavorings such as vanilla or cof­fee beans, cin­na­mon or gin­ger ben­e­fit from the heat of the scalded milk, inten­si­fy­ing the aroma and infus­ing the fla­vor. But, olive oil is best intro­duced into the already com­bined cus­tard, whisk­ing vig­or­ously or whizzing in an auto­matic blender, slowly driz­zled, in much the same way as one would make a hol­landaise or aioli.

Now that baked cus­tard, gelato and Spanish flan made with extra vir­gin olive oil have earned a place of dis­tinc­tion at the tables of some of the most pres­ti­gious restau­rants, isn’t it time they also earn a place at yours?


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