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Grape-Nut custard

(Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)
December 8, 2010

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Serves 6

Among Charlie’s classic desserts are strawberry shortcake with fresh biscuits, tapioca pudding, brownies, Jack Daniel’s chocolate cake, and this Grape-Nut custard, an old New England specialty served in squares with whipped cream.

Butter (for the dish)
Generous 1/2 cup Grape-Nuts
2 2/3 cups whole milk
10 eggs
2/3cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle Grape-Nuts evenly in the dish. Have on hand a roasting pan at least 1-inch larger than the baking dish. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.

2. In a large heavy saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until the edges just start to bubble. Remove from the heat and remove any skin on top of the milk.

3. In large bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth. Add sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup. Whisking constantly, pour the milk in a stream into the eggs, until thoroughly combined.

4. Pour the milk mixture into the dish. The Grape-Nuts will float up and then settle on the bottom. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

5. Place the roasting pan in the oven. Set the baking dish inside. Pour boiling water around the baking dish so it comes about halfway up the sides.

6. Bake the custard for 35 minutes or until it is just set and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

7. Remove the baking dish from the water bath. Set aside to cool. To store, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Adapted from Charlie’s Diner Bar & Grill