My custards class in culinary school, I gained 10 pounds. Those plunky pounds slipped on my body as I inhaled spoonfuls of pastry cream, downed little disposable metal cups of crème brûlée with crunchy shards of burnt caramel, freshly spun ice cream sucked from the churning machine, and precious pots de crème lapped up with broken bits of cookie chunks. There is nothing more satisfying than a custard. My go to dessert is usually a pint of ice cream, but my heart will always belong to a perfectly baked custard.

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Smooth and creamy clementine custard, spooned up, has substance as it floats across the tongue, dissipating. Leaving a perfume of soft citrus on the edges of your mouth, it lingers in the nose. This custard isn’t sugary sweet, but a buttery cookie made with whole wheat and flax seed meal cuts the richness and flecks the dessert with nutty and salty bits. A pairing of creamy and crumbly.

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Clementine Custard and A Flax Meal Cookie

Rachel Ellrich Miller

Ingredients:

    Clementine Custard:

7 each Egg Yolks
4 each Clementines, zested
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Paste (Or 1 each Vanilla Bean, scrapped and pod)
1/3 cup + 1 TBSP. Granulated Sugar
1 pint Heavy Cream

    Flax Meal Cookie:

8 oz. Butter, unsalted, softened at room temp.
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 each Egg Yolk
3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup Flax Seed Meal
1/4 cup Potato Starch
1 tsp. Fine Sea Salt

Directions:

    Clementine Custard:

In the bowl of a mixer, place egg yolks, clementine zest, vanilla paste (or seeds and pod of one vanilla bean) and granulated sugar. With the whip attachment, whip on medium/high speed until mixture has reached ribbon (the egg sugar mixture will be pale yellow and very thick).

Remove from mixer and add the heavy cream. Mix by hand with a spat until mixture is fully incorporated. Place it in a sealable container and place a piece of plastic wrap on top, directly touching the top of the mixture, then secure the lid. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, heat oven to 275 degrees. Remove the lid and plastic wrap from the container. Take a spoon and scrape off the foam that is sitting on top of the mixture. Throw out foam. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve (and remove the vanilla bean pod if necessary). Pour strained mixture evenly between 4 oven safe containers. Place in a deep pan. Fill the pan halfway up the side of the containers, with cool water. Plastic wrap the top of the pan and then aluminum foil the top of the pan. Place in the oven and bake till custards are set (ie no longer liquid) but still jiggle, roughly 40-50 minutes (this may vary depending on the containers you bake your custards in). I suggest checking your custards after 30 minutes and then every 10 minutes after that. Remove from the oven and place custards on a sheet pan. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, and then cover with plastic wrap individually and place in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 12 hours and then enjoy. I like to do this over 3 days. Day 1: Make base. Day 2: Bake/Chill. Day 3: Serve.

    Flax Meal Cookie:

With the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar. Scrape down and add egg yolk. Allow to fully incorporated. Scrape down. Place AP Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Flax Seed Meal, Potato Starch and Fine Sea Salt in a bowl and whisk together. On low speed, add all the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix until incorporated. Do not over-mix. Place dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate or place in freezer for an hour.

Heat over to 325 degrees. Roll dough and cut out designs. This dough is very soft and buttery. You may need to return it to the fridge or freezer while rolling to harden it up a bit. Place the tray of cut cookies in the freezer before baking, to chill the cookies. Bake cookies till golden. Cool on a rack. Serve with clementine custard.

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