Log in

No account? Create an account
31 May 2010 @ 01:16 am
Where is the custard?!  
"Moral of the story: There is no custard in Southern Indiana."

Anyone who has seen the fifth season's "The Eleventh Hour" episode has had the urge to try fish custard, the strange food combination Matt Smith's Doctor finds tasty enough to be accepted by his new tastebuds. Most people probably haven't acted on this urge, but a friend and I did. Because we're missing a few screws when it comes to fandom.

The experiment... got off to a rocky start.

First stop: Kroger. For some unknown reason, the frozen fish sticks weren't... in the frozen section of the store. We looked everywhere. Frozen chicken, frozen vegetables, frozen dinners, so many types of pizza... Finally, two GIANT bags of fish sticks shoved in at the bottom. Uhm, we didn't want $10 worth of fish. So we went on a search for custard. NOWHERE. No refrigerated custard, no canned custard, no custard MIX... (My mother insisted it was just pudding, but eventually she came around.) During our search, we did discover the fish had its own section and a box of 44 fish sticks was acquired for about $5.

Second stop: Meijer. STILL NO CUSTARD. After a thorough search of the store, we promptly left and headed to the next town...

Third stop: Wal-mart. Why oh WHY was there no custard?! We bought a package of vanilla pudding, figuring we'd try it just to see how it fared, some tater tots to go with the custard-less fish, and salsa. (Try it, salsa with fish sticks is tasty.)

Fourth stop: Krispy Kreme. FINALLY CUSTARD. We bought the last four custard doughnuts in the store and headed home. (With a pit stop for frappes to award ourselves after the epic scavenger hunt.)

Fifth stop: Home.

This is where the disaster really begins. My mother had pulled out one of her cookbooks and found a recipe for stirred custard, which is just what we were looking for.

Ingredients: 3 beaten eggs, 2 cups milk, 1/4 sugar.
Heat until coats spoon, add 1 tsp vanilla, cool in ice water 2 minutes.

Looks easy, right? SO VERY WRONG. Custard is one of those things that can very easily be screwed up. We're not sure where we went wrong, but perhaps we heated it too much, or the taking it off the burner, putting it in the ice water, and then discovering it was still soupy and subsequently putting it back on the burner... Yeah, probably not the best idea.

We puttered while the custard cooled in the fridge. Finally, it was TIME.

Vada was the one brave enough to try our custard. It looked like Grits Gone Wrong. It was goopy and dripping and didn't stick to the fish. It also didn't taste like custard, or anything good. Tasteless and gritty is her account of the experience. Vanilla pudding went a bit better, but the custard from inside the doughnut was the best. REAL custard. It wasn't that bad, even borderline tasty. The two flavors didn't combine, so it wasn't some weird amalgamation of fish and custard, just fish, and custard, the end.

After a bout of giggles, the dish was named "Fishtard" and we ate the doughnuts and moved on with our lives (after disposing of the Custard Gone Wrong, of course). We do intend to try this again, once we've found a good, substantial source of custard.

Edit #1: And, because of the video by charlieissocoollike, we made our own video to document the experience. (I'm the one in the Wolverine shirt with the red face from giggling so much. Vada is the one who actually tried our custard. I'm not quite that brave.)

Fish + Custard = Fishtard? (also, fail.)

Edit #2: I just found out via Doctor Who Confidential 5x09 "What Goes on Tour..." that Matt Smith didn't actually eat fish custard while filming! I feel a bit cheated. We're all out here being brave and trying it and he didn't have to! Someone should give him the challenge one day and get it on video.

Really, though, it was so much fun trying fish custard. It made me feel just that much closer to my fandom. The experience bonds some fans closer together. I can already imagine that I'll wear one of my Who shirts at a convention and get to talking with a fellow Whovian and we'll instantly have a good bonding laugh over having actually tried fish custard. I certainly hope so, anyway.

Edit #3: Stirred custard is the slightly runny, goopy sauce that is poured over things -- it's what was used in "The Eleventh Hour". This is what we were trying to make from scratch, but didn't go well because of heating difficulties that kept the sugar crystallized. We fully realized that the custard in doughnuts is a different type, but it still tastes likes stirred custard, it just had a different consistency. We were going more for the taste at the end than full accuracy, because it was a Sunday night of Memorial Day weekend and nothing was open except the big chain stores that had no trace of custard anything. We tried the pudding to see what the consistency should be like (though stirred custard is a bit runnier).
Current Music: chameleon circuit "count the shadows"
(Deleted comment)
Amy (Not Pond): wtf amy&roryamynotpond on May 31st, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
Certainly not in my town! I'll have a look for it when next I'm in the actual big city that has more grocer diversity. Thanks for the link!
(Deleted comment)
Themisthemis1 on May 31st, 2010 12:12 pm (UTC)
Um, I have a nagging suspicion that what we call custard in the UK isn't what you call custard in America ...
Amy (Not Pond)amynotpond on May 31st, 2010 01:12 pm (UTC)
There are multiple types of custard, depending on what you're using it for. The type used in baking over here is European custard, so it's the same thing. We just don't have as much daily use for it, so it was harder to find than, say, pudding, which is completely different because it contains no eggs.
Themisthemis1 on May 31st, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)
What we call custard is a fairly runny sauce served separately, hot and poured over pudding; the sort you get in doughnuts isn't quite the same thing ...
Amy (Not Pond)amynotpond on May 31st, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC)
The runny sauce is what we were trying to make. We knew the difference, we just couldn't find it in any our of middle-of-nowhere stores. The other tasted the same, it was just a different consistency because of a few additional ingredients to make it set more.
ex_antimorp on May 31st, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC)
The type of custard that you get in doughnuts is crème patisserie. The Frensh call it crème Anglaise (English Cream) but it isn't quite the same as proper custard, which is runny and tends to get a skin if you let it cool.
If you ever fancy making custard again there's a recipe on the BBC website that looks good:

I'd add more sugar than they say, but it's pretty straighforward. Over here we also have custard powder, which is mostly just cornflour and flavourings - you make it up with milk, and add a couple of eggs if you're feeling fancy.

But anyway. I commend your dedication to the scientific method! Can't say as I'd be all that willing to try fish custard myself.
Amy (Not Pond)amynotpond on May 31st, 2010 05:22 pm (UTC)
We were attempting to make the actual sauce, but I'm the most novice cook in the entire world, so it didn't turn out right. In my experience, the creme tastes exactly the same as the sauce, so that was our last ditch effort to get the flavor right, if not the consistency.

We've got custard powder somewhere on this continent, because my friend's mother has used it for baking, but as I mentioned, it's not as popular in our particular area, so it was nowhere to be found. (It didn't help that it was Sunday night of a holiday weekend and the only things open were the huge chain stores.)
HermitKnut: PoutforGallifreyhermitknut on May 31st, 2010 12:46 pm (UTC)
*sniggers* brilliant :D I'm seriously considering daring one of my friends to try this, I'm inspired :D
Also, yes themis1 I have the same nagging suspicion. Still funny, though :)
Grace: the geeky!doctor // doctor whosaku_teiki on May 31st, 2010 07:08 pm (UTC)

Here in central Ohio no one has heard of custard filled doughnuts. The closest I've gotten is Boston Creme Pie filled. Because there's a difference between creme and custard. No one believes me. T__T
Amy (Not Pond): amy what?!amynotpond on May 31st, 2010 10:50 pm (UTC)
That is a travesty! I fell in love with custard filled doughnuts when I was in Japan last summer and was beyond excited when we got an actual Krispy Kreme store in my town. Of course, we don't have half the fun varieties listed on the website, but as long as they keep custard, I'll be happy.
Al: [amy]: today was a fairy talethepettycoat on May 31st, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
My best friend and I tried it, too. She even liked it. I could stomach about half a fish stick before I had to start eating them separately.

I agree with what you said, about it making you feel closer to your fandom. It's like, someday when my best friend and I are old and blue-haired and they're on the fifty-second Doctor, we can say to each other, 'Remember that time we ate fish custard because the eleventh Doctor did it?'