Monday, May 03, 2010
Molly MacRae Monday: Barley-Prune Custard
It's Molly MacRae Monday again, and she's here with some delightful prose and an - er - interesting recipe. I keep telling her I want to help cure her of the prune fondness, but apparently she has the opposite mission for me! Her picture actually looks pretty good...-AA
I’m trying very hard to connect with Amy on the prune thing. I like prunes. She doesn’t. So sad. But that doesn’t have be the end of the story. Somewhere in my cookbooks there has to be a prune recipe so strange that we can both find it disturbing and so be uplifted by it. (Note from Amy - I find these in most of my books, and uplifting isn't quite the word...)
Many of my cookbooks I bought before Amy was born so they probably qualify as vintage in her mind. There are a few dating from the era when some misguided nuts believed carob could be substituted for chocolate undetected. And that it should be. Talk about disturbing. Rodale’s Naturally Delicious Desserts and Snacks is the worst book on my shelf for that kind of thing, so I flipped through it, thinking I might find a recipe combining carob and prunes. That would definitely put the “wretch” in wretched.
No luck with the carob-prune combo, but I found something called “Barley-Prune Custard” and I could easily picture Amy shuddering. The trouble was I couldn’t make myself shudder. In fact, I made it for dessert and fed it to my family. Both boys were home, so it was a full house, and we all liked it. Well, my husband did have one suggestion for improving it. He licked his chops and said, “It wouldn’t hurt to add more prunes.” Sorry, Amy, I am trying.
1 qt. milk
¼ c. barley
2 T. honey
½ t. vanilla
Pinch of salt
¼ c. chopped prunes
Cinnamon for decoration
Put milk in saucepan, add barley, cover, and cook slowly for about 30 minutes or until barley is tender.
Preheat oven to 350º.
Beat eggs, add honey, vanilla, salt, and prunes.
Slowly stir egg mixture into barley and cook over very low heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Put mixture into individual custard cups and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.
Bake in preheated oven until custard is set, 15-20 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.
Yield: 4-6 servings
I just read Karen Cushman’s new kid’s historical novel Alchemy and Meggy Swann. It’s set at the beginning of the Elizabethan era, in a colorful, stinking, lively London. I loved the book and I’m pretty sure Barley-Prune Custard is something Meggy Swann would have eaten and loved, too.