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Classic Custard (Jericalla)

This rich custard, named after the small city of Jerico in Colombia, is also popular in Mexico, particularly in the Puebla region.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups milk 
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 2-inch piece true cinnamon bark 
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise  
  • 3 egg yolks 

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the milk, sugar and cinnamon. Using the tip of a small knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk. Bring to a slow boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the mixture is thick enough just to coat the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes. Strain the milk mixture into a bowl and let cool slightly.

Preheat an oven to 325°F.

In another bowl, beat the egg yolks until blended. Add 1/3 cup of the hot milk mixture, stirring constantly, then pour the egg mixture into the rest of the milk mixture, stirring constantly. Divide the mixture evenly among 6 to 8 flameproof custard dishes or ramekins. Place the custard dishes on a rack in a baking pan, making sure they do not touch, and pour hot water into the pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a custard comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Remove the custard dishes from the water bath and arrange on a baking sheet. Turn the oven to broil, place the baking sheet under the broiler and broil until the tops of the custards are browned. Let the custards cool, then cover and refrigerate for several hours until chilled.

Serve cold in the dishes, or run a knife blade around the edge of each dish to loosen the custard and unmold onto dessert plates. Serves 6 to 8.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.