For a fancy dessert that looks difficult to make but really isn't hard at all, try this homemade vanilla custard with a brulee topping served in eggshell cups. If you have never made custard using your own fresh eggs, you are really missing out on something truly inspiring.
Using just a few ingredients, vanilla bean custard is one of my favorites.
Bruleed Vanilla Custard Cups
(makes one dozen)
4 duck eggs plus 8 additional shells (or 6 chicken eggs plus 6 shells)
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
1/3 cup sugar
1 envelope gelatin
1/4 teaspoon salt
Additional sugar for the brulee topping
~Method to Prepare the Cups~
Wash eggs in warm water and scrub gently using a rough sponge. Carefully use a small paring knife to remove the upper portion of each egg.
Separate the four yolks (or 6 chicken egg yolks) into a small bowl and save the whites for another use.
Boil shells for five minutes.
Then remove with tongs...
and set in an egg carton to cool and dry. I love this ceramic 'carton' a friend gave me for Easter. You can find a similar one here on Amazon.
~To Make the Custard~
Whisk the salt into the egg yolks in a small bowl and set aside.
Pour the milk into a small saucepan, add the sugar and scrape in the vanilla bean. Sprinkle with gelatin and let stand for 3 minutes. Cook over low heat, stirring until sugar and gelatin have dissolved, about two minutes.
Then slowly whisk in the egg yolk and cook on low heat, whisking, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about five minutes.
Pour the custard through a strainer into a two-cup measuring cup.
Pour into the eggshells and refrigerate until set, at least four hours or overnight.
Half an hour before serving, remove cups from the refrigerator and sprinkle with additional sugar. Using a kitchen torch or oven broiler, heat until the sugar melts and caramelizes. Serve immediately.
Make the presentation really special by serving the eggshell cups in a ceramic egg tray, like this one sold by Amazon.