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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Doctor Who: Fish Fingers and Custard [Recipe]


One of the most memorable moments in Doctor Who comes from the Fifth Series season premiere in which the newly regenerated eleventh Doctor (played by Matt Smith) gets a young Amelia Pond to rustle him up some grub. Except...nothing seems to taste quite right. That is, until...FISH FINGERS AND CUSTARD!!!


Now, fish fingers and custard has become a Whovian staple. It's as ubiquitous in the fandom as Jelly Babies and "The Angel Have the Phone Box."

In reality, Matt Smith actually ate "coconut thingies in bread crumbs" with his custard [1] during production. But this hasn't deterred many a fanboy (and fangirl) from trying it with actual fish fingers.

So, I decide to join the ranks of ├╝ber-dorks and have fish fingers and custard for the first time for dinner tonight.

Since it's almost impossible to find British-style custard in American grocery stores and since custard and vanilla pudding are actually two different things, I decide to make the custard from scratch. (Pudding is a lot thicker and sweeter than custard and the best description of custard's consistency I've found is that it is "drinkable.")

I got my recipe for the custard from my copy of Dining With The Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook by Chris-Rachael Oseland [2][3]. The recipe itself is pretty standard and matches almost exactly to those I've found on Pinterest and elsewhere on the internet. I've included the ingredients list and a step-by-step instructions toward the end of this post.

Now, if you aren't brave enough to actually dip real fish fingers in your custard, you can follow the show's lead and make faux fish fingers. Dining With The Doctor actually has several recipes for making these out of french toasts, cornbread, cake, etc. I recommend picking up your own copy. There is also a Kindle Edition. You can also find recipes for these mock fish fingers on the internet and Pinterest.

For my part, I decided to try the real thing. I had a bag of Costco Brand (Kirkland's) fish sticks in the freezer, so I threw a bunch in the oven while I made the custard.

So, how did I like them?


It was good! Well, it wasn't disgusting, anyways. It tasted like a milder-flavored vanilla pudding. I was actually surprised how runny the consistency of the custard end up being. It definitely was "drinkable." Granted that could have more to do with my cooking than the recipe. The recipe called for milk, without distinguishing what type. I used skim milk, so perhaps using whole milk might have made it thicker. Also the recipe called for double cream which is not sold in the America, as far as I know. Double cream has about a 48% fat content. I used heavy cream which is about 35% fat content [4]. Also you could probably adjust the amount of cornstarch if you're feeling adventurous or find a recipe to make your own double cream.


BRITISH_STYLE CUSTRD RECIPE



Source: Dining With The Doctor: The Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook by Chris-Rachael Oseland. (I paraphrased and formatted the instructions in a numbered format. This is Ms. Oseland's recipe. Please pay her compliments by picking up a copy of her cookbook. It has many other great recipes.

IINGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup double cream (heavy cream)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 extra large egg yolks




STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pre-measure ingredients. The success of this recipe has to do with timing and constantly stirring while doing every thing else. Extra limbs would be helpful.
  2. In a bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch. Pour in milk and whisk well.
  3. Pour cream into saucepan and "gently warm" over medium heat. Do Not Boil!
  4. As cream warms, gently whisk in milk mixture. Keep whisking to prevent lumps, skins, and uneven mixing.
  5. Once it starts boiling, take off heat.
  6. In another bowl, beat eggs yolks until smooth (I recommend doing this before hand.)
  7. Gradually mix in eggs, whisking the whole time. "Don't just dump all your eggs at once. You'll end up with an overly sweetened and mostly inedible egg drop soup."
  8. Once it is all mixed well, put back on medium heat. Add vanilla. Keep whisking.
  9. Keep whisking as you slowly bring it back to a boil.
  10. Once it starts to bubble, remove from heat. Whisk for another minute.
  11. Serve hot or put in bowl with plastic wrap to prevent skin from developing on top. Keeps for 2-3 days. makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as I did.