This section is from the book "The American Woman's Cook Book", by Ruth Berolzheimer. Also available from Amazon: The Domestic Arts Edition of the American Woman's Cook Book.
A custard is a mixture of cooked egg and milk, flavored. Starchy material is sometimes used to replace part of the eggs. Custards are classified according to the method used in cooking them; those cooked over hot water and stirred throughout the cooking process are known as soft or stirred custards - erroneously, as boiled custards; those set in hot water and cooked in the oven (oven-poaching) are firm or baked custards.
The firmness of a custard depends on the proportion of eggs to milk. (See "Useful Facts about Eggs.") The finest-grained custards are those in which the yolks predominate.
If fresh milk is not available, an unsweetened canned milk or milk powder may be used with excellent results.
1/8 teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Scald the milk in the top of the double boiler. Beat together slightly the eggs, sugar and salt. Add the hot milk to the egg mixture, mix thoroughly and return to the top of the double boiler. Cook over hot water, stirring constantly until the egg coats the spoon.
No. 2 - If eggs are expensive, modify the recipe for soft custard by substituting one teaspoon of corn-starch for one egg-yolk or two teaspoons for two egg-yolks or one whole egg. Make the milk and starch into a sauce and cook over hot water twenty to thirty minutes before adding any eggs.
Coffee - Use recipe for soft custard, substituting one cup of very strong coffee for one of the cups of milk.
Caramel - Caramelize one-fourth cup sugar and add to one cup scalded milk.
Follow recipe for soft custard, using this milk with caramel as part of the milk, and using in addition the full amount of sugar called for in the recipe.
Chocolate - Melt one ounce of chocolate and add to it two tablespoons of sugar dissolved in two tablespoons of boiling water. Mix thoroughly. Add this chocolate mixture to two cups of scalded milk and use as the milk in a plain soft custard.
It may be poured over fresh fruit.
It may be served as a sauce for most gelatin dishes.
2 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 to 8 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Follow directions for soft custard, using two egg-yolks and one whole egg. Cool and turn the custard into a glass dish or into custard cups. Beat the two egg-whites until stiff and beat into them two to four tablespoons of fine granulated or powdered sugar. Drop this meringue by spoonfuls on the custard and chill thoroughly. A candied cherry or a small bit of red jelly placed on each spoonful of meringue adds to the attractive appearance of the dish.