1 pint milk.
Yolks of 3 eggs.
3 tablespoonfuls sugar.
½ saltspoonful salt. ½ teaspoonful vanilla.
Scald the milk. Beat the yolks, add the sugar and salt, and beat well. Pour the hot milk slowly into the eggs, and when well mixed pour all back into the double boiler, and stir constantly till smooth and thick like cream. Strain, and when cool add the flavoring. Do not stir the egg into the hot milk, as there is danger of curdling, and a part of the egg will be left in the bowl. Scalding the milk hastens the process, so that less stirring is required. When nearly thick enough, the foam on the top disappears, and the custard coats the spoon; but the surest test is given by the sense of feeling. You are conscious that the custard is thicker by the way the spoon goes through it. Do not leave the custard an instant; take it off as soon as it is smooth, as it will thicken in cooling, and curdles quickly if cooked a moment too long or if left in the boiler. Have a fine strainer placed in a bowl or pitcher before you begin to cook the custard, that you may strain it quickly.
Boiled custard, when to be used as a sauce, should be thin enough to pour; when to be served as a custard, it should be cooked a moment longer, to make it thicker.
Four or even five eggs to a pint of milk may be used when a rich custard is desired. But three are sufficient for nearly all purposes.
Boiled custard is much smoother when only the yolks of the eggs are used. Many combinations may be made by adding the whites of the eggs after the custard is cold. Beat the whites stiff, put them on a sieve, and cook over steam, or pour boiling water through them. The water will cook and stiffen the egg, and when well drained it may be piled in rocky form on the custard. Or the white may be poached by dipping it by the spoonful into boiling milk. Serve the custard in a large glass dish, and pile the white in a mass, or put spoonfuls of it here and there on the custard, with bright-colored jelly on the white; or serve in small glass custard cups with the white and jelly on the top. Or pour the custard over slices of sponge cake (soaked in wine, if you prefer), and cover with a meringue of the whites sweetened and flavored. Floating Island, Flummery, Tipsy Pudding, and hosts of other dishes are only fancy names given to the different combinations of cake, boiled custard, and meringue.
Any of the following ingredients may be used as flavoring; this will give a variety of dishes, which want of space prevents us from giving as separate receipts: half a square of chocolate, melted; the three tablespoonfuls of sugar melted to a caramel before mixing with the yolks; one cup of grated cocoanut, or cocoanut cakes crumbled; six mac' aroons soaked in wine; one cup of chopped almonds or any of the varieties of candied fruits; four oranges, peeled, seeded, and cut fine; one pint of any canned fruit; one pint of lemon, wine, or orange jelly, cut in cubes. Or color the meringue pink by beating three tablespoon-fuls. of bright-colored jelly with the whites; or brown it with a salamander or hot poker, or by putting the dish on a board in the oven.