Halfway There: Lemon, Yogurt, and Almond Custard Pots

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

-I AM so lucky!-

Done, done, done.

So done.

A finished draft of the book with all its pictures, appendices, intros, and recipes tested by over 85 people has been turned into our editor at Little, Brown & Company. All 409 pages of it.

Four. Hundred. And. Nine. Pages.

So excuse me if my posting has been a little, short as of late. It's just, you know, 409 pages. The last two weeks I have done nothing but read-tinker-edit-futz-delete-edit-again-add-change-and-putz-with those 409 pages. I can recite whole recipes and headnotes to you from memory.

If we were to take an MRI of my brain all that grey matter would somehow resemble elbow macaroni and globs of melted cheese.


-An MRI of my heart just shows cardiac arrest waiting to happen after all that cheese.-

So I'm taking a break for a little bit while my editor goes at my hand-scripted mac-child with a red pen and scribbles all over it's little face. I love cheese. I love pasta. I love writing.

But I need a tiny break.

You all know what I'm talking about, right? You can love something. A person, a place, a hobby, a job, whatever... and as much as you adore it and want to tuck in bed and kiss it on the forehead sometimes, just every so often, you just want to shake it like a maraca and scream that you just need some freakin' space. Right?

Please tell me it's not just me. If so, then I am a terrible person and author because let me tell you I shook that book like a British nanny. All that cheese? I took it to work for other people to eat. I need something where I don't have to make a mornay.

-Some serious First World Problems right here.-

So here we go. Custard. With lemon zest, and yogurt, and vanilla beans because doesn't not mac and cheese sound so good? Doesn't NOT writing about aged dairy and carbs sound so delightful? Chilled custard enjoyed while wrapped in a knit blanket on a not as cold as it should be day?

It does! Admit it. Custard. Yes. Want.

This recipe is - essentially - the Meyer lemon custard pots from Aran Goyoaga's new book, Small Plates & Sweet Treats. Aran and I actually have the same editor so it's lovely to see the kind of quality product that Melt will someday be. The book is delightful. The recipes work. The writing is a peak into Aran's enviably stylish, Basque-chic, ex-pat life. The photos take you to her dinner table where only amazing things happen and where it smells of cinnamon and chorizo.

I have no complaints. I highly recommend it. Not because my editor sent me a copy. Not because Aran is my friend. I encourage you to get a copy because it's a high quality book with recipes you won't just want to make but will actually be inspired to go to the store, buy the ingredients, and get in your home to cook them. (I have made six dishes from the book already and I am a better, fuller person for it.) Inspiration to want and inspiration to DO are two very different things. Small Plates & Sweet Treats does the latter.

Anyways, when the editor is done then I get the book back to check their edits, then copyediting, design, cover design, indexing, bundling, checks galore, and then off to printing. Then in October 2013, the book is ready. Oof.

I'mma go eat 'muh custard now.

Lemon, Yogurt, and Almond Custards
Serves 4-5

1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
4 eggs
1/2 cup almond flour
1 cup whole-milk yogurt
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped almond or pistachios
powdered sugar for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Pinch together the zest and sugar to release the zest's oils. Whisk in the eggs, almond flour, yogurt, and lemon juice.

2. Pour into ramekins (I used canning jars) and place into a baking dish. Place the baking pan in the oven. Fill the pan with hot water so that it reaches half way up the ramekins. Bake for 30 minutes.

3. Remove custards from water bath and cool on a wire rack. Allow to come to room temperature and then chill in the fridge. Serve with almonds and a dusting of powdered sugar.


  1. I know EXACTLY what you mean. Working on a research paper and I started out absolutely loving the idea and now if anyone so much as mentions anything even remotely "crisis-line" related I just walk away. It happens more often than you'd think, LOL! Now I want custard. Congratulations on the draft! :)

  2. Exciting times! I don't think I could write a book and still hold down a job (or at least not a full-time one) at the same time. So kudos.

    Lovely looking dessert. But just wondering at which point do you use coconut milk? It's in the list of ingredients but not in the instructions.

  3. Looks great. Before I try it, though, did you use 5 half-pint jars and just distribute the custard evenly between them?

  4. Garrett! Congrats!
    Ok, now listen to me: walk away from a computer screen. Go buy a nice bottle of champagne. Turn on the fireplace and drink it all by yourself. You can share if you want, but no talking about the book. Just let the bubbles take over your mind for a while :)

  5. Congrats Garrett for completing the draft. I know that after reading thousand of times it will be hard for us to find anything wrong. I did that with my thesis.

    Take a break, enjoy the days without thinking of book or cook something delicious like this custard. Love it.

  6. Yay! Garrett does a gluten-free recipe, and not even on purpose I'd wager, but much appreciated just the same. I was wondering what to do with my spare lemon. I'll try this on the weekend.

  7. Congrats! I love that you used mason jars for this recipe. It looks delicious.

  8. Congrats Garrett. That is a huge step! Now take a break and feel refreshed for the next round. I cannot wait to have Melt in my hands. Thank you for your kind words about my book too. xo

  9. White Strawberries. As soon as I saw your name under the article (linked from Food52) I saw the Vanilla Garlic header in my mind (I'm a visual person). I admit, your food blog is not my favorite food blog, nor have I made any of your recipes, but your writing and zeal are just so damn infectious. I'm a weird eater with an odder propensity to categorize food blogs into: Recipes I'd Make, Pretty Food Pictures, You Follow Ina Garten's School of Infinite Ingredients List, and lastly, Food Bloggers I like. You fall into the last category. Congratulations by the way!

    1. I think you're being modest and my blog is your favorite, so thank you. ;)

  10. Oh my goshhhhh how do you feel? You're done!!


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