There is a season with Molly Parr: Whipping up a cool, creamy custard

  • An simple prep and a turn in the oven yields a quick and easy custard. MOLLY PARR

For the Gazette
Published: 12/3/2021 5:40:15 PM
Modified: 12/3/2021 5:39:42 PM

A few weeks back, my girls went apple picking with family friends and returned with far too many apples. I went through my usual repertoire of fall baked goods, which included a very simple Shaker apple cake recipe that I adore, and a Mollie Katzen tried-and-true apple crisp from her perfect “Moosewood Cookbook.”

But it was the recipe on the facing page from the crisp, a maple baked custard, that caught my eye. I turned to my 6-year-old as I prepped the apples to see if we could skip dinner and have two desserts instead.

“No, Mama” she said. “We cannot have two desserts for dinner. It’s one or the other.” Feeling determined, I went back to the cookbook the next night and prepared the maple custard-filled ramekins that danced in my dreams.

The baked maple custard recipe, which also had a bittersweet chocolate and maple peach versions, is so simple that I am declaring it a weeknight recipe. Take the ingredients — all of which you probably already have on hand in your fridge — give them a whirl in a blender, fill ramekins, and bake in a 350F oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Katzen calls this recipe “Easy super-comfort food,” and when she’s right, she’s right.

You don’t even have to boil the water for the water bath. The hardest part of all was removing the small dishes from their water bath, but a good pair of oven mitts and dependable tongs helped immensely. While the recipe says this makes six custards, I managed to pour out a dozen. I know that one third cup of maple syrup may sound like a lot, especially given the high price of maple syrup, but spread out over 12 servings, it’s totally worth it.

Baked maple custard

from “Moosewood Cookbook” by Mollie Katzen


2½ cups milk (lowfat works just fine)

One-third cup real maple syrup

4 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: a dash each of cinnamon and nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350F. Have ready (at least) six ovenproof custard cups and a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Whip until frothy.

Divide the batter among the custard cups. Place them in the baking pan, and half-fill with water. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until the custards are solid in the center when shaken.

Carefully remove the cups from the baking pan. Cool to room temperature, then cover each one tightly with plastic wrap and chill.


Molly Parr lives in Florence with her husband and two young daughters. She’s been writing her food blog, Cheap Beets, since 2010. Send questions or comments to

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