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Nectarines with Broiled Custard

Total Time: 50 minutes

Hands On Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Like the classic French sabayon sauce, this custard is made with egg yolks, sugar, and a boozy liquid (in our case, a mix of apple cider or juice and rum or Madeira). Rather than beating the custard into frothy peaks, however, we stir this custard over gentle heat until it thickens, and then broil it quickly in the oven. You end up with a wonderfully creamy sauce over tender slices of sweet-tart fruit: a lovely study in contrasts.

Nectarines with Broiled Custard
Photo/Art by Michael Piazza

For the custard:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup fresh apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons light rum or Madeira
  • Freshly grated zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, tough outer leaves removed, yellow inner stalk roughly chopped
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • Garnish: confectioners' sugar

Instructions:

Butter four ramekins and set aside.

Start the sauce: In a 1- to 2-quart pot over medium-high heat, combine the apple cider (or juice), rum (or Madeira), lime zest, and lemongrass. Bring to a simmer; then remove from the heat and let it infuse 20 to 30 minutes.

For the fruit:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for ramekins
  • 4 nectarines, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Freshly grated zest of 1/2 lime

Instructions:

Meanwhile, prepare the fruit: In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. When melted, add the nectarine slices and sprinkle with the sugar and lime zest. Cook, stirring often, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes; then transfer to a plate and set aside.

Back to the sauce: In the bowl of a double-boiler (off the heat), beat the egg yolks with the granulated sugar until the sugar is partly dissolved. Strain the cider/rum mixture into the egg mixture, discarding the solids, and set over simmering water. Stir the mixture continuously, until it thickens and gels, easily coating the back of a spoon, 7 to 12 minutes. If the eggs appear to curdle, remove the mixture from the heat and keep whisking.

Preheat your broiler. Arrange the nectarine slices in the prepared ramekins, and divide the sauce on top. Place the ramekins under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, until the custard begins to brown.

Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.

Updated Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
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