In iftar, after having a lot of fried food, dessert items are essential for keeping the stomach cool. Many refreshing desserts we usually eat in iftar are pudding, doi-chhira, sweet or sour yoghurt, ice cream, fruit salad, etc.
Among them, custard is one of the crowd's favourite dessert items. There are different types of desert preparation that can be made with custard.
Although fruit custard is most common, there are varieties that can easily be prepared at home. After fasting for a long hot and humid day, a bowl of chilled custard can soothe our stomach and heart as well.
History of Custard
The Midwest's love affair with frozen custard is linked to the Chicago World's Fair in 1933. Wisconsin was another US state that was making frozen custard and ice cream in the early 1930s.
The city of Milwaukee is regarded as the ‘Unofficial Frozen Custard Capital of the World,’ as it has more frozen custard stores per capita than anywhere else on the earth. And since then, custard has slowly spread around the world.
Preparation of custard
Custard is prepared by combining eggs with milk or cream. Then thicken it over low heat. The concern with custard is that it can be overcooked. If it is cooked for too long, it will curdle or become stiff. The perfect temperature is around 80⁰C.
To make the custard preparation more simple, readymade custard powder is also available in various brands. You just need boiled milk, sugar and custard powder to make a delicious dessert.
It is also needed to cook on low flame and stirred continuously. To make it more healthy, different kinds of seasonal fruits are added such as apple, banana, pomegranate, grapes, mango etc.
Unique Bengali custard desserts
There are some other ways of making your custard dishes unique other than the conventional ones. With the base of custard, other dessert items or beverages can be prepared.
Custard-E-Shorbot: It is more like a milkshake version of custard. The custard is made with more milk. The concentration will be significantly thinner. Then the custard along with some ice cream, dry fruits and ice is blended together.
Custard Kulfi: In this, the custard is made in a conventional way. The only difference is there will be addition of some whisked fresh cream and ice cream powder. After that, the mixture is frozen in an ice cream mold.
Custard Kulfi. Photo – Three Whistles Kitchen
Bideshi Shahi Tukra: White breads are toasted in ghee or butter. Then the regular custard cream is spread all over the bread with some dry fruits and nuts.
Custard Haluwa: Custard powder, sugar and water is mixed together. Make sure of having no lumps. In low flame, after toasting some nuts with ghee, this mixture is added and stirred non-stopped till it thickens and shows a shiny colour. Then, you can give it a shape or just have it with a spoon!
Custard Haluwa. Photo – Aliza in the Kitchen
Custard filled Pitha: The pitha can be Patishapta, Kuli pitha or Tele bhaja pitha. Custard cream is made stiffer than regular and they are replaced with the traditional fillings. In case of tele vaja pitha, after making your usual pitha, custard cream is filled into it through a piping bag. It is like a deshi version of a cream filled donut.
Custard goes perfectly with the Bengali taste buds. Whether it is made in a conventional or unique way, it is wholesome in many aspects. And for iftar after a scorching day, it is a life-saver.