Fresh Egg Custard with Pecan Shortbread

Steven Hartman

Le Vigne Restaurant at Montaluce WineryDahlonega, GA

Make this custard during spring, when farmers' market are selling eggs at peak flavor and freshness.


  • Pecan Shortbread:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup bread flour
  • 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • Egg Custard:

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt


To prepare the pecan shortbread, mix the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until well combined. Add the bread flour, cake flour, and pecans and continue to mix on low until well combined. Remove the dough from the bowl, form into a disc, and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle. Using a knife or a shortbread cookie cutter, cut the dough into 1 x 2-inch rectangles. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until the edges are golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool before serving.

To make the custard, preheat the oven to 275ºF. Fill a teakettle with water and let it come to a boil while you make the custard base.

Place the cream in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, place the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium-sized bowl and stir until just combined. (Do not whip.) Slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, until well combined.

Divide the custard among six 8-ounce jars or ramekins and place in a deep baking dish. Open the oven and place the baking dish on the center rack. Carefully pour some boiling water into the baking dish until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the custard is just set (the custard should jiggle only slightly when shaken), about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

Serve the cool custard with the pecan shortbread.


6 servings