Introduction & Purpose of Blog Post
As the intensifying cold weather and enduring pandemic keep us all homebound, It is more important than ever to remember to keep the festive spirit of the Holidays alive and stronger than ever! This is accomplished by simply tasting the holiday spirit. How do you do that? Through the tradition of making good, old-fashioned, home-made ‘boiled custard’ in the comfort of your kitchen (or a friend’s place)!
In this article, I will attempt to provide some history on the origin of boiled custard, uses in baking and other dishes, and a standard recipe which you can and should experiment with. Hopefully, You’re ready to ignite the holiday spirit even if it's currently a week before turkey day so let’s jump in.
What are the origins of boiled custard within soul cuisine?
I’ve done some research, It shows that boiled custard although a traditional recipe within soul cuisine there are no clear cut dates in the history of boiled custard’s creation. Some speculate that it originated along the lines of the Eastern Mississippi River in regions such as Western Tennessee, Western Kentucky, and Mississippi since it is a very well known recipe within these areas (r/AskFoodHistorians). According to Caroline Sander’s post on Garden & Gun magazine, the regions that follow this tradition of making boiled custard are those within the Cumberland gap which are roads or trails connecting Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee (Garden & Gun 2020).
Although it seems apparent that this recipe is native to Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee, How did it reach the United States in the first place?. Not surprisingly, Custard has very extensive historical roots which may have been introduced within Europe as far back as roman antiquity (Quora.com) & (theocelot.co.uk). It was supposedly a recipe popularized within European cuisine by French chefs who dubbed it Creme Anglaise. It is plausible that when America declared its independence from Europe it still kept this recipe which would explain how a traditionally European recipe such as custard made its way to the Southern United States. More interesting is the fact that Europeans do not customarily drink custard which implies that this recipe
was changed to make it drinkable to distinguish it from the traditional custard.
How is boiled custard used within soul cuisine?
Within soul cuisine, Boiled custard can be a standalone recipe. Depending on how long it is cooked, Custard’s thickness may determine whether an individual can drink it or use utensils to consume it. Sometimes, people prefer boiled custard over eggnog because it’s viewed as a more family-friendly holiday recipe that everyone including young children can enjoy (Southern Living & Garden & Gun 2020).
On the other hand, It can be used as a sweet topping for other dessert items in addition to being used to make a variety of desserts ranging from bundt cakes to delicious pecan pies (bakingamoment.com). More importantly, This recipe is usually rarely made in individual servings because it’s vital to make it in a pitcher and/or a large pot so it’s accessible to your community to spread the holiday spirit to all. For the adults only: Boiled custard can be spiked with alcohol just make sure to do so after you have your cup.
How can I make boiled custard? Variations?
As mentioned above, Boiled custard has a different thickness depending on factors such as cooking time, heat, how quickly your pots or pans conduct heat, and more. More notably, This recipe's name is also a bit deceptive. You see ‘Boiled’ in this case means that it's made in a large pot usually referred to as a boiling pot in Southern Speak.
In this delicious egg-based dessert, I need to stress the following message:
DO NOT BOIL THE EGG MIXTURE! EVER!
It will start curdling the eggs which will ruin this treat. [Include visual here - curdled eggs in custard] We are aiming for a delicious drink, not a cup of half-scrambled eggs (Although I am now in the mood for breakfast).
The simplicity of this popular southern recipe allows everyone from grandma to the children to add a unique twist on the recipe whether it's to add some half and half, extra sugar, a trusted bourbon, or rum brand (Deep South Dish.com (2010)). Lucky for you, I sifted through all of these recipes painstakingly and selected a recipe that is simple, budget-friendly, and allows the readers to experiment to make the recipe their own (Sorry, Grandma you didn’t make the cut...This recipe has nutrition facts and serving sizes). This recipe comes from writer Inger Wilkonson from The ‘Art of Natural Living’ blog, who was introduced to this recipe by a friend.
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