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Cinnamon-Espresso Cup Custard (Dorie Greenspan)



Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Butter four 6-ounce custard cups (or coffee cups) and find a roasting pan that's large enough to hold them; line the roasting pan with a double thickness of paper towels to keep the cups from sliding.
Have a kettle of very hot water at the ready.
Bring the milk just to the boil and stir in the espresso powder and cinnamon, stirring until they are dissolved.
Remove the pan from the heat and keep at hand.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is pale.
(You can do this by hand or with a mixer.
) Mixing without stop, add just a little of the milkyou don't want to the heat to shock the eggs.
When you've got about one-quarter cup of the milk in (and the eggs are tempered), you can add the rest in a slow, steady stream.
Mix gently so you don't create too much foam.
Strain the custard into a measuring cup with a spout and skim off all the foam that's on the top (even though you mixed gently); divide the custard evenly among the four cups.
Place the cups in the prepared roasting pan, set the pan in the oven and very carefully fill it with hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cups.
Bake the custards about 45 minutes, or until they're jiggly only in the center when you tap them lightly.
Remove the cups to a rack and cool to room temperature.
Chill, covered, for at least 2 hours before serving.
Serve the custards in the cups or unmold onto small plates by running a knife around the edge of the cup to break the seal.
Covered, cup custard will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, but custard is really best the day it is made.