holidays and recipes: an ancient holiday menu with hazel walnut honey custard

Hazelnut Walnut Honey Custard Recipe

The final recipe for the ancient holiday dinner menu is a dessert that stands the test of time. Presenting in a very lovely manner, the hazel-walnut honey custard is the perfect dessert that represents the ancient world and satisfies modern sensibilities. Nutty, sweetened with honey, visually pleasing and, of course, easy to prepare, make this dessert a part of whatever holiday menu you might choose.

You’ll notice, of course, that this dessert is sweetened with honey. For the ancient Greeks honey was considered the food of the Gods. Praised by Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey and philosophical writings of Plato and Aristotle, honey found its way into many ancient texts, myths and legends. The Romans continued the practice of apiculture, using honey for both dietary and health requirements.

Hazelnut Walnut Honey Custard Recipe

According to The Philosopher’s Kitchen, where we found the recipe for this Hazel-Walnut Honey Custard walnuts were a child’s plaything. They were also found in this recipe, which comes from an ancient Roman cookbook.

An Ancient Holiday Dinner

1. Seared Beef with Lemon-Herb Crème Fraiche
2. Kale with Coriander Sauce
3. Poppy Turnips
4. Etruscan Foccacia
5. Hazel-Walnut Honey Custard

Hazelnut Walnut Honey Custard Recipe

Hazel-Walnut Honey Custard

Ingredients

¼ cup walnuts
¼ cup blanched hazelnuts
2 cups whole milk
¼ ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground allspice
Pinch of freshly milled five-color peppercorns
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
Pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
3 tablespoons nut liqueur (frangelico or amaretto)

Directions

1. Finely grind the walnuts and hazelnuts in a food processor. Toast the nut mixture in a small dry nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until golden. Reserve 2 tablespoons.

2. Place the remaining toasted nuts and the milk, nutmeg, allspice, and pepper in a saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium-low heat. Gently simmer the mixture for 10 to 12 minutes to reduce the milk and infuse the flavors. Remove from the heat and stir in ¼ cup honey and the salt. Allow to cool to room temperature.

3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease six ½ cup ramekins and place them in a deep baking pan.

4. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and egg white, and then whisk them into the milk custard until well incorporated. Pour the custard into the ramekins. Fill the baking pan with hot water until it reaches three-quarters of the way up the ramekins. Cover the pan with aluminum foil.

5. Bake in the center of the oven until set and firm, about 30 minutes. Turn off the heat but leave the ramekins in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

6. While the custard is cooling in the oven, make the sauce. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey with the liqueur in a small bowl.

7. Serve the custards in the ramekins, or if you prefer, invert each onto a plate and then invert again onto a serving dish so that it rests golden side up. Drizzle with the honey liqueur mixture and top with the reserved toasted nuts.

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8 comments

  • December 12, 2011 at 4:02 am //

    What an incredible recipe – the idea of a nutty custard sounds great.

  • December 12, 2011 at 6:07 am //

    this looks great

  • December 12, 2011 at 6:55 am //

    This looks like an amazingly creamy, subtly sweet custard :) I love the walnuts with this!

  • December 12, 2011 at 7:51 am //

    Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments.

  • December 12, 2011 at 7:58 am //

    Wow! Usually custard does nothing for me, but this is just beautiful!

  • August 29, 2012 at 4:40 am //

    10 chips is about the size of a carb serving. There’s relaly no shortcut for chips because any substitute (pita, etc.) would also be a carb, and tortilla chips aren’t too bad glycemic wise. If you’re trying to cut out fat then you could use reduced fat or nonfat cheese. The nonfat cheeses don’t melt very well except for the processed American cheese. It melts but tastes kind of scary if you ask me!I would say look to covering the chips with seasoned ground turkey and all the veggies you want (onions, jalapenos, tomatoes, salsa) and go light on the cheese.