Savory Custard with Bacon and Cheese

Savory Custard with Bacon and Cheese

With the holidays approaching, maybe you’re looking for a simple but elegant brunch offering for your guests, or maybe just something a tad bit special for yourself. This savory custard should please about anyone – – I even like it and eggs are not my favorite! It must be the garlic-infused cream, or the nutty cheese…or perhaps…BACON. Ok, it’s the bacon.

I used Comte for the cheese, but I think the flavors here will readily adapt to other cheeses as well. The classic combination with Gruyere or Emmental, or a smoked cheddar or Gouda all sound like good choices.

This custard would make a fine meal with a small salad and some fruit.

Ingredients (4 servings in 6-8 ounce ramekins)

  • 1 1/2 cups cream and/or half and half
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • dash ground pepper
  • dash ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (optional)
  • 7-8 ounces grated cheese (see notes above)
  • 2 slices bacon, crisped and crumbled (divided)

Preheat the oven to 325F. Place 4 custard dishes/ramekins in a deep baking pan. Add hot tap water to the pan, to halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Take care not to splash any water in the ramekins.

In a heavy saucepan, bring cream and the smashed garlic to a bare simmer. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes.

Whisk together the eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg and thyme (if using) in a mixing bowl (preferably with a spout for pouring).

Remove the garlic clove from the cream and discard (or save for another use).  While valiantly whisking, pour a steady stream of hot cream into the egg mixture to temper the eggs. After about 1/2 the cream has been added, you can pour in the rest more quickly, while still whisking. Stir in half the bacon, reserving the rest for a festive bacon garnish.

Divide the grated cheese among the ramekins. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese. Place in the oven carefully, and bake for 45 minutes or until the custard is set (barely wiggly in the center) and slightly browned on top. Remove custards from the baking pan and let cool for ten minutes. Garnish with the reserved bacon and serve warm.

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