Savory custards are not as well known as their sweet counterparts these days, but it is a dish that was commonly prepared historically in Europe and Asia.
I often make them for our first day of spring meal, as this is the time of year when the stores from the last harvest were dwindling and many were getting by on cheese, fresh dairy and eggs from the livestock that started producing in the spring, and whatever wild greens were popping up. It just makes sense that this is probably the time of year when they were made frequently as they would have been running low on flour to make tarts and pies.
I’ve seen this recipe made most often with wild leeks or wild onions, but I used chives because that’s all I have growing right now and I am more of a gardener than a forager. You can really chop up any wild greens you have a plentiful amount of now to throw on top.
Chances are if you see this recipe on a site from the UK the proportion of milk and cream will be different. The dairy products we get here in the US have a lower milkfat content, so I have fiddled with the recipe to get a good texture.
Wild Herb Custards
¾ cup whole milk
1 ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
4 large eggs
1 cup finely grated white cheddar cheese
5 Tbsp. finely chopped herbs
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Mix the first four ingredients, well. Place your custard cups in a glass baking dish. Fill the dish with boiling water until it comes up two-thirds of the way on the custard cups. Fill the cups 2/3 full of the mixture from above and then sprinkle the chopped herbs on top. Cover the cups with a piece of parchment paper and place them in the oven. The custards need to cook for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your custard cups.
When they are done, the mixture will have set up and a tester inserted in the middle should come out clean.