Scottish Blueberry Dessert with English Custard
I should just preface this whole entry with the comment that this is a weird dessert, and I was surprised how much I liked it. I made it the authentic Scottish way (or so the book said), using bread, butter, berries, and sugar -- and that's it. Having tested it, it would be awesome with an angelfood or a biscuit layer instead of bread. But as with anything, I had to try it the correct way first! And I'm really not disappointed... it's just different. If you want something that's a cross between a no-bake cake and bread pudding with berries, here's where it's at -- adapted from The Highlander's Cookbook by Sheila MacNiven Cameron.
I found some white bread and blueberries at the farmers market on Saturday, so I definitely had to use those for this recipe. It would just as easily go with blackberries, raspberries, etc.
1qt. fresh berries, stewed with 1/4 cup granulated sugar & 1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 lb. loaf of firm, dense white bread
1/4 to 1/3 cup soft butter
Drain juice from berries and set aside. Remove crusts from the bread and slice into thin slices, then butter both sides and line a loaf pan completely with the bread to make a complete shell. Fill the shell with the drained fruit and press down firmly. Cover the fruit with a lid of buttered bread. Mix reserved berry juice with the lemon juice and pour evenly over all. Weight down a lid or a plate on top of the pan and set in refrigerator overnight for at least 24 hours. Unmold very carefully and serve cold with cream or custard sauce. Serves 6-8.
Lessons learned: all that butter doesn't do much to loosen up the entire dessert from the pan, so in future I would put a piece of parchment paper down first in the pan before lining it with bread.
As for the custard...
I scoured the internet for a good English custard recipe. They're all similar, some varying in kinds of sugar or amounts of egg yolks, so I settled on something along these lines after combining elements from a few:
8 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half and half
2 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pour the cream, milk, and 4 tablespoons of sugar into a pot and heat on medium heat until simmering, but not boiling. Add vanilla extract and stir.
In a separate bowl, combine 8 egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Whisk until light yellow.
Pour a little bit of heated cream mixture into the egg mixture bowl while whisking constantly. Add a little bit more, still whisking, then return the egg mixture to the cream mixture on the stove and stir. Stir for several minutes until custard begins to thicken. It is ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon, and can be served hot or cold, with dessert or plain.