Friday, January 15, 2010

Crema Fritta alla Veneziana

Venetian style fried custard

What to do with a dozen egg yolks left over from macaron prep?

That's what I've been trying to figure out since separating eggs for macarons. (They are aging at room temperature on my counter as we speak, a state that is making my microbiologist husband cringe with discomfort.) Thats right, I'm going to match wits later this week against the infamously temperamental cookie: the macaron. (Cue dramatic music here)

I actually made a batch yesterday and while they came out near perfect, the feet stuck out just a little and for the blog I think I could do better. So I am going to make a few adjustments and try again today or tomorrow as time permits.

So, back to all these egg yolks! I am one of those people who cannot waste even the smallest amount of food. So I must find a good use for all these yolks. There were a few obvious choices: chocolate mousse, crème brulée, custard... all great ways to make use of leftover egg yolks, but I wanted something a little different. Something like the fried custard you can get in Venice during carnival.

These little desserts are creamy, lemony and deep fried. How can you go wrong with that?

My spin gives this dessert a lighter crisper crust, using lemon zest, rice flour, and panko breadcrumbs. Crack the crisp shell and thick warm custard with a hint of lemon oozes out.

Oh so good...

Not so Humble Crema Fritta alla Veneziana:
adapted from Luscious Creamy Desserts
serves 8-10

6 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup bread flour
4 cups whole milk
5 large strips of lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch salt

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup corn starch
3 eggs
2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest

vegetable oil for frying
lemon wedges

Butter a 9" square baking pan and line with a piece of parchment.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture has lightened in color and is relatively smooth. Set the whisk aside and grab a wooden spoon, add the bread flour and pinch of salt and mix (it will be very thick). Add a cup of the milk and using the whisk again, mix until smooth. Add the remaining milk and the strips of lemon zest, mixing well.

Set this pot over medium heat and slowly bring it to a boil. This should take roughly 18-20 minutes. Whisking frequently at first and then constantly towards the end. Once the mixture thickens and large bubbles begin to form, remove from heat and strain through a medium mesh sieve. Stir in the vanilla and pour into your prepared pan. Press a sheet of plastic wrap down onto the custard to prevent a skin from forming and then chill for at least 4 hours (ideally overnight).

For frying, heat your oil to 350°F and have a skimmer handy to remove crumbs and keep the oil clean. Heat your oven to 250°F and line a baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels.

You'll need three shallow bowls to assemble the custards for frying. In the first, mix the rice flour, corn starch and powdered sugar. In the second, toss the panko crumbs with the lemon zest and in the third, beat the eggs lightly.

Remove the thoroughly chilled custard from the refrigerator now. Cut around the sides to release the custard and turn out onto a small cutting board lined with a piece of parchment. Peel the piece of parchment off the top of the custard and cut into rectangles (roughly 2x3"). Working in batches so not to over crowd the custards while frying, take 2-4 pieces of custard and place them into the sugar/flour mixture. (Return the remaining custards to the fridge to keep chilled while frying this batch) Coat thoroughly in the flour, then dip into the egg and finally in the panko. Add the custards to the hot oil and fry briefly until golden brown, flipping once. Remove from the oil carefully (they are delicate at this stage) and place on the pan with paper towels and keep warm in the oven.

Repeat with remaining custards until all have been fried.

Serve warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and a slice of lemon.


  1. This reminds me a bit of Crema Catalana

    Anything custardy is made of win as far as I'm concerned!

  2. I just found my dessert for tonight. Thank you Mrs. Humble!

  3. That looks too good to be true ...

  4. This looks SPECTACULAR!!! I have been drooling over your site for a while now, but this has been the most appealing dessert you've posted. It looks amazing.

  5. Not only our your recipes unique, but your photograhy is gorgeous. Keep coming up with new ideas - I love them. :)

  6. I've never heard of such a thing as this! **Wonderful**! :) I *love* it!

  7. Wow that looks sinfully delicious! Great pictures :)

  8. That looks absolutely amazing!

    I'm on it!

  9. I've never tried this dessert before, but the lemony thing makes it especially appealing to me! And wow YAY, you're making macarons!!!! :DDD

  10. MUST you continue to torture me with the deliciousness of lemon??? YUMMMMMMMMMMM!

  11. I don't really want to make this dessert.

    I just want to come over to your house and have you make it for me.

    :) It looks so delicious!!

  12. My favorite photo is the one with the filling oozing out! Yummy lemon filling! :)

  13. It looks delicious, but looking at the picture I can only imagine something tasting salty. I've never had fried custard, so my brain keep telling me this is deep fried cheese!


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