This was the perfect breakfast for time-change Sunday. I knew I needed to set my clocks ahead before going to bed last night, but I just didn’t do it. Maybe I needed to sleep on the idea to get used to it. But I woke up this morning and toured the house clocks, giving up that hour on a beautiful, sunny morning painlessly for a change. Typically, I feel deeply the loss of that precious hour.
A celebration was in order. Clearly something in that borderland between breakfast and lunch was just the ticket. Do we still call that “brunch?” I used apples because I always have them on hand for the bunnies. And since I’m the hand that feeds, I see myself as having a few rights. As the season’s fruits get better and better, I’ll be making this with peaches, with apricots . . . A splop of tart-ish crème fraîche at the end is a perfect finish to the sweet notes of fruit and bacon, followed by pinches of smoked paprika to bring it all together.
4 slices thick-sliced bacon, crisp, 1/2” dice
2 red apples, peeled, cored, 1/2” dice
4 large eggs
8 ounces heavy cream
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
Few grinds of pepper
Crème fraîche for garnish (optional)
Pinches of smoked paprika
- I always cook bacon in the oven. It stays flat, it crisps uniformly, and it doesn’t make an unholy mess of the stovetop. Too, the oven is already at a perfect temperature to bake these custards. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange bacon slices on a baking sheet. Bake until browned and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Don’t turn the oven off!
- While the bacon is cooking, peel, core, and dice the apples. Whisk together the eggs, cream, rosemary, and pepper.
- When bacon is done, dice it and fold into the custard mixture.
- Run a pastry brush over some soft butter and brush the insides of 4 4-ounce ramekins.
- Use a large spoon or a ladle to divide custard among the ramekins. Set ramekins on a baking sheet with a lip all the way around. Fill a large measuring cup or pitcher with very hot tap water. Set the baking sheet in the oven with the front edge hanging off the edge of the rack by an inch or so. Pour hot water into the baking sheet until it almost reaches the lip. You are creating a water bath that will ensure that the center of your custards will be done at the same time as the perimeter. Gently nudge the baking sheet the rest of the way into the oven.
- Oven should still be set to 350 degrees. Bake custards for 30-40 minutes. Custards are done when slightly puffed and golden on top, and slightly tender when you tap the surface.
- I use a canning jar lifter to remove custards from a water bath. Remove the custards to a cooling surface. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. If you wish to gild the lilly, top each with a spoonful of crème fraîche and pinches of smoked paprika just before you serve. Serve with some good grilled bread and a fruit salad.
- A note about the water bath: the safest way to remove the baking sheet from the oven is to turn off the heat, and leave the door ajar so that the water can cool. When it reaches a temperature that you feel comfortable handling it, go ahead and carefully carry it to a sink.