“Weekend” Food Prep–Cranberry Breakfast Custard (with a bonus recipe: Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce)

I created this recipe the weekend after Thanksgiving last year, and it’s a delicious way to use up some leftover cranberry sauce! I don’t keep the canned kind around, but if you decide to go that route, do please let me know how it goes. It would be great to know I could extend how often I can enjoy it to outside the holiday season.

Cranberry Breakfast Custard

one. Set a kettle with 3 or so cups of water to boil. Preheat oven to 325oF.

two. In a large bowl, whisk together until eggs are frothy and sugar is dissolved:
6 large eggs
3 cups egg whites
8 Tbs. half and half(1)
1/2 cup soy milk or 2 percent dairy milk(2)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup leftover fresh, whole berry cranberry sauce (or maybe one small can of it?)(3)
1-2 tsp vanilla extract

three. Pour the custard into an 8×8 glass baking dish, making sure to redistribute the whole cranberries evenly. Set this into a larger baking dish (mine is 9×13–it’s ok if the smaller touches the bottom of the larger dish, but it’s better if there’s some space around the sides between the two dishes). Pour boiling water into the larger dish so that it goes about halfway up the custard.

four. Carefully place this all into the oven and bake until the custard is just set in the middle, between 1 hour 15 min and 1 hour 30 min. Allow the custard to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it, although allowing it to slowly cool until room temperature before serving will result in the creamiest texture. Can be served chilled, room temperature or warm.

Yields 6 servings for breakfast, maybe more if it’s dessert.

Photo description: A square, clear glass baking dish with cranberry custard inside. It has a reddish-orange color and bits of whole cranberry can be seen in a few places.

(1) The half and half provides a helpful bit of fat to make this custard especially creamy. It’s not just about flavor, it’s about chemistry–the fat helps buffer the proteins in the eggs from getting too hot and denaturing, creating an undesirable, curdled texture. You could omit the half and half and just use a fattier kind of milk, but you will not get as nice a texture.

(2) I recommend standard (not low fat) soy milk or 2% or whole dairy milk for all of my custards. As noted in the previous comment, subbing in a lower fat product will result in a less pleasant custard texture.

(3) Bonus recipe: Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

one. Combine in a medium saucepan:
12-16 oz. bag of fresh cranberries, picked over
1/2-3/4 cups sugar
zest and fruit of one orange or a couple tangerines
2-3 Tbs. frozen concentrated orange juice
A few whole cloves (remove before serving)

two. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, lower heat to allow to simmer about 10 minutes, or until berries pop and mixture begins to thicken. Pour into a glass container and refrigerate to cool completely before serving.

Yields about 4 cups of sauce.

Photo description: A cut glass, crystal bowl with a cup or two of leftover cranberry sauce in the bottom. The sauce is bright red and chunky with whole berries and bits of chopped tangerine.

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