Tuesday, April 28, 2015

~The Vintage Vegetarian~ Invalid Custard

As promised, here is the second edition of the vintage vegetarian recipe experiment. (I actually made this at the same time as the last one, but split it into two posts to give proper attention to each recipe.) This recipe is for a cup custard and is taken from the "invalid" section of a Victorian cookbook. There is a fairly large section dedicated to "invalid cooking", which makes me suspect that a vegetarian diet may have been recommended for those with a delicate constitution. Either way, I love simple recipes and decided to give this one a shot. 

 Invalid Custard

The original recipe

My initial thoughts
This is from the "invalid" section of the cookbook, so I expect it to be rather plain. I have been sick lately, so this seemed liked a good fit at the moment. I like that the amount or type of sweetener is not specified. That likely means it is not required for the custard to set properly, and leaves me free to substitute some of my home-grown stevia powder. Overall, the instructions look fairly simple. 

The Ingredients
(for one larger serving, or two smaller ones)

  • One egg
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • Sweetener (I'm using a pinch of stevia powder)
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla extract (I'm using homemade extract, so you might need a bit more if using store-bought extract)

Cooking Instructions
  1. Pour ingredients into cups. It doesn't say to mix them together, but I assume you are meant to beat the milk and eggs a bit. I stirred them with a fork until they seemed well mixed. 
  2. Pour into cups. I'm using two ramekins for the "one" serving of custard. They seem large enough for a dessert sized portion of custard.
  3. Place cups/ramekins into a "half-pan" (I used a rectangular cake pan), and fill pan half-way with water.
  4. Bake for an unknown amount of time, at whichever oven temperature you feel like. I went with 40 minutes at 375 degrees, using a toaster oven. (You might want to reduce the heat to 350 degrees if cooking in a regular oven.)
  5. Bake until solid, and a knife can be drawn out clean. When they say "solid", I think it just means until set, rather than super solid. No one wants to have to chew custard. 

The Result

Actually, really good. There was a slight skin on the top, but I like "pudding-skin" so this wasn't a problem for me. The custard was very creamy and soft/silky.  I did put a bit of cinnamon on top, as it is quite plain on it's own. It would be marvelous served with a bit of fruit sauce (such as pear sauce). I had the other one later with a bit of honey and blueberries, and it was quite delicious! 

I will definitely be making this recipe again. Prep time took about 2 minutes and it can be left to cook while you eat dinner. It makes a perfect weeknight dessert, when you don't have much prep time and want something simple. If you wanted to make a larger amount, the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. 

That's All.


  1. How lovely sounding! I could see this going really well with fresh berries, peaches or nectarines, when they're in season. Thank you for sharing this tasty vintage custard recipe with us.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Mmm, peaches and custard sounds like a marvelous idea!

  2. Kate,

    These last few evenings, my Mom and I have been having such fun looking at "Practical Vegetarian Cookery" on the link you provided at archive.org! Today, I found one copy available for purchase on Amazon! The actual book from 1897 for only $14.95 USD!!! It's such a cool book....thanks for blogging about it :)

    1. Wow, only $15? That's a great find! "Practical Vegetarian Cookery" is definitely one of my favourite Victorian cookbooks at the moment. I'm glad you enjoyed it too :) Let me know if you try any of the recipes!


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