This recipe comes from the distinguished French Cook Louis Eustache Ude, chef to the Earl of Sefton. He came from good cooking stock himself; his father was chef to King Louis XVI.
Ude was quite a character, there’s a great story of him being hauled in front of a magistrate after he was found selling roast grouse on his menu before the 12th of August (the date from which the gamed season begins. See here for a post all about that). He was given a fine and sent on his way.
The next day, the Scottish Laird who had reported Ude to the police returned to Ude’s restaurant to make sure he was abiding by the rules. Pleased to see there wasn’t a morsel of the offending bird on the menu, he ordered Salami de fruit défendu, i.e. Salmi of Forbidden Fruit, which turned out – of course – to be grouse! The cheeky devil.
There was none of this nonsense when he worked for the Earl of Sefton though as they goton like a house on fire, except for one day when he left his service because Ude spotted the Earl’s son adding salt to some soup he made. Offended by this, he turned on his heel and left.
This recipe is essentially a savoury custard. It could only work with a home-made stock though. I imagine it would be excellent nourishing food for someone that is ill. The little custards can be served in their ramekins or turned out onto a plate.
Jane suggests to use a veal stock, but any stock can be used. On the other blog I recently wrote up a recipe for such a stock. For these sorts of dishes where the stock is the star of the show, you need to make your own stock, otherwise you risk it tasting of Cuppa Soup.
Anyway, that’s enough waffle. On with the recipe!
Bring one pint of good, clear, home-made stock to a boil and whisk it into 6 beaten eggs just as you would with a regular custard. Add the grated zest of a lemon, ¼ tsp of ground mace and season with salt and Cayenne pepper, then and whisk in 4 tbs of clarified butter.
Place your ramekins – you’ll need 6 to 8, depending on size – in a deep roasting tin and pour the custard into them and cover with foil. Pour boiling water into the tin, technically turning it into a ban Marie, and carefully slide the tin into an oven already preheated to 180⁰C and bake for 12 to 20 minutes, or until the custards are just set and still have a good wobble on them. Serve straight away with thin, crisp toast, says Good Lady Grigson.
#407 Seftons. These were great, light and satisfying, even though they sound a little odd. I’m thinking that should I ever get my premises, they will definitely go on the menu; they are delicious, light, subtle and very satisfying and could very easily made vegetarian. I imagine a good mushroom stock would work very well as an alternative to veal. 8/10