Thursday, August 12, 2010

50 mile meal - take 8

What to do with a bag of pineapple tomatillos (aka, ground cherries).

Most people make them into a fruit jam/compote/pie. Since I'm most definitely NOT a sweets hound, these options did not stoke my culinary flame. The 12 farm fresh eggs basking in the fridge eventually convinced me to do something I'd been wanting to try for a while - custard.

This recipe seemed flawless - simple ingredients, simple process, gorgeous texture. My ratios are a tad different, since these tiny, yellow and green orbs are nowhere near as full of liquid as ripe tomatoes. If you make this dish using standard 'maters, I'd recommend following the recipe linked to above. If you're lucky enough to have baby tomatillos in your midst, continue!

Tomatillo Custard

1/2 pound fresh pineapple tomatillos, husked, washed, 1/2 cup reserved
1/2 pound hoop cheddar, grated, a handful reserved
6 regular eggs
1/2 cup milk or cream
Tsp honey
 2 heads roasted garlic (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350f.

Put it all in a blender, and blend, on liquify setting, for 2 minutes.

Grab a large bowl and fine strainer. Pour the mixture through, using your fingers to push liquid out of the stuff left in the strainer. If you have a LOT of ruffage left, puree the batch again. You'll only end up with about 1/2 cup of skins/seeds if you've gotten the mix smooth enough.

Butter an 8 inch pie plate or cake pan. Pour the mix in. Set the filled pan in a larger (roasting works) pan filled with about a half-inch of hot water. Bake for 20 minutes.

Once the custard has set a bit (about 20 minutes in) take it out and cover it with the remaining cheddar. Try to get a uniform, fully covered surface. Slice the remaining half cup tomatillos in half and place them on top of the cheese in a cute pattern. Return to oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and started to bubble a bit.

I made some AMAZING cornbread to sit this delicious egg cake on top. It came from the back of the cornmeal bag, and seriously, is the best I've ever made:

Simple Cornbread

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup fine cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 egss
1/3 cup oil
3 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 cup milk

Put all your dry ingredients into large bowl and mix together. Make a well in the center, add the liquids while whisking. Whisk until just mixed. Pour into a quiche or pie pan (cast iron skillet'll work as well) and throw 'er in the oven with your custard. They'll be done about the same time (30 minutes at 350f). Finished looks like pure, tasty gold. Pull it out a little early if you like a cake-ier cornbread.

To serve, I simply sauteed whatever was left in the produce drawer from the market run on Saturday - bunch spinach (a little less than a pound), several large shitake caps, sliced thin, two cloves or heirloom garlic, and one uber-ripe 'mater. Toss it all in a skillet with two tablespoons oil or butter and saute until mushrooms have released some liquid.

Make a delicious pile of spinach in the middle of your plate. Using a 2.5 inch cookie cutter, cut a circle of cornbread and a circle of custard. My cornbread was not flat on ze top - so I carefully sliced the top crust off, and served it alongside the stack. Press your veggie pile down, place the cornbread on top, then carefully place the custard on top. Serve with fresh herbs and hot sauce.


  1. Very innovative! Love your tomatillo custard, simply gorgeous.

  2. Muchas gracias! The polka-dot thing kind of just happened. Pureeing the cheese with the eggs pre-bake made for an interesting, super-uniform texture, which was a total bonus!

  3. How did that insane sweet pineapple tomatillo flavor hold up with the cheddar and cornbread?

  4. Oh that's right, you tried one, didn't you? The custard could have used a bit more tomatillo puree, which I accounted for in the above recipe. The topping turned out to be useful as well as cute, since you'd inevitably get a half in every bite, and that sweetness would shine through. Savory custard is awesome! Who knew!