Friday, April 19, 2013

Sweet Spiced Vanilla Bean Bone Marrow Custard

one can't help feel primal and a bit righteous eating bone marrow for breakfast.  
absolutely decadent, healthy and delicious way to start your day.

OR...serve this for a flashy finish to a super carnivorous dinner party.

a dessert your guests won't forget.

don't be afraid...i urge you to try this...even for the conversation aspect alone.  you'll be surprised how unassuming the marrow is.  it tastes pretty must like a rich egg custard, but there's just a little something else to it...a certain je ne sais quoi...perhaps.

I'll bet my fellow "marrow mate", Trevor, at Sis. Boom Blog will be all over this one.

i know you probably think bone marrow is all fat, but they are mainly good fats...monounsaturated.  there are many health benefits as well.  i am not a nutritionist, but i have found that marrow is full of minerals, protein, calcium, vitamin A, phosphorous and iron.  in the 19th century is was regarded as a health food.  Queen Victoria was said to eat it every day...that might be over doing it just a bit, but...
a nice little marrow custard every now and then will do just fine.

with a few adaptions, but many thanks to the original found at
makes four(4)  7-8oz ramekins

1/4 to 1/3 cup rendered beef marrow
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs, room temp.
1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 to 3 Tbsp honey
4-5 cardamom pods, crushed open
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick, 2-3 inch
butter or veg. oil for ramekins

FIRST...but not absolutely necessary (i always do this)...soak your bones in salted water over night or 24 hours.  change the water 2-3 times with salt each time.  this draws some of the blood out.  blood is not bad, but nice white marrow is preferred.  sometimes it's the luck of the draw so you might want to buy more bones than you need so you can pick the prettiest marrow after you see it rendered.  freeze the remainder for "bone butter".
in a small sauce pan add milk, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, star anise and vanilla bean scrapings.  bring to a boil and turn off heat.  set aside and let steep while preparing marrow.
in a large stack pot, add bones, cover with water and bring to a boil.  they should probably only need a few minutes until they are ready to render out the marrow (photo above).  if you boil them too long they will start to dissolve.  remove bones with slotted spoon and wait until they are cool enough to handle.  over a bowl, run a small knife between the bone and marrow.  the marrow should slide out of the large end of the bone.  there will be some liquid fat.  leave this behind when measuring out the 1/4-1/3 cup for recipe.
pre-heat oven to 350F
put some water on to boil for your bain marie and butter or grease your ramekins.
in a small bowl, mix the eggs and honey.  set aside.
strain you spiced milk into a medium sauce pan.  cut marrow into small-ish pieces for easy blending with an immersion blender.  add marrow to strained milk mixture.
NOTE... i used an immersion blender because i found that the mixture needed to be "slightly" rewarmed while blending.  the marrow can separate and act like solid fat if it meets cooler temperatures or if your marrow has sat and become did mine.
if your mixture is warm, slowly temper your eggs into the milk/marrow mixture.  blend with the immersion blender until smooth.  if it looks like the fat is separating...rewarm ever so slightly, while emulsifying  until it comes together and blends well. 
pour mixture into greased/buttered ramekins and place into bain marie/large roasting pan.  pour near-boiling water into roasting pan/dish about 1/2 way up the ramekin.  bake in oven 25-30 minutes...they should look just set...maybe a little wobbly in the center.  they will completely set from residual heat.  mine took 23 minutes.

i suggest serving them just a bit warm...on it's own or with a few fresh berries.  they keep well.  i refrigerated 3 and have rewarmed them slightly in the microwave for breakfast...
i feel like i start my day at the top of the food chain.

for more info on Rendering Bone Marrow check this post i did a while back.  next up?...Jennifer McLagan's savory Bone Marrow and Porchini Mushroom Custard from one of her fabulous books, "ODD BITS".  stay tuned


Karen said...

As someone who would have shunned bone marrow in the past, but has come to realize it's nutritional value, I am intrigued. It looks lovely and I bet it tastes good too! I will have to try it! Thank you!

Jules and Ruby said...

hi Karen...marrow is good-food...right? i hope you get a chance to give this a try. would love a report if a do. thanks for stopping by

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Trevor Sis Boom said...

Ha! I will now have to rush my post to print! What an great idea for a marrow treat! Lets not post too much good marrow fun or I will have an even harder time of finding it!

Marcus Hepburn said...

Wow…this post tingled my toes. I’m so full of admiration and respect for firefighters in general and now you in particular Stewart. Thank you for sharing.
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Meeya said...

Hello! I've been wanting to make this dish for about a year now! And I finally just got all of the ingredients and cooked my bones tonight. But I'm not so sure I cooked them properly, because I ended up with a bowl of liquid rather than little plumps of marrow.

All I could find were the long marrow bones that weren't cut (they were about 8 inches or so). So I bought 2 of them and added them to a stock pot. I brought the water to a boil and let them simmer a bit. And that was when I realized that your directions say to first simmer the water and then add the bones. But it was too late. So I took them out... At the end of the bones there was a little jelly / plug. I poked a butter knife in thinking that the marrow would come loose. But a bunch of liquid drained out. I poked the knife in from both ends and sure enough... just liquid came out. Same thing happened with the other bone. So now I have a bowl of yellow stuff that has now solidified as it has sat on the counter. Is this fat or is it marrow? I was thinking I dissolved or melted the marrow, but then I saw something in your post about liquid fat... so I'm not sure. Hopefully I can still use this to make the recipe. Thanks for your feedback :)

Jules and Ruby said...

MEEYA....oh my. so sorry i did not see this sooner.
uh oh...sounds like they cooked too long, BUT you are so lucky to get LONG bones. were they split in half? bcuz that it the best way to serve them roasted with a fabulous presentation....
i think the liquid fat you speak of is fat AND marrow. i don't know how it will effect the recipe. it would not hurt to try since the marrow melts into the custard.
i hope you see this and let me know what you decided....use or not.
in any case it will be delicious fatty marrow to use as "bone Butter". scramble or fried eggs are delicious
again...sorry for late reply....Xj

Meeya said...

Hey Jules! Glad to hear from you!
It was the long bones, but they did not have them cut in half (lengthwise). So it was just the long "tubes" of marrow. I think you're right... it was a mixture of marrow and fat. I tasted it and it was pretty good. It's actually still sitting in a bowl in my refrigerator. When I actually make it back to the grocery store for milk and spices I will whip it up into the custard. I'll let you know how it turns out! Oh, and thanks for the idea of using the bone butter with the eggs. Sounds yummy and oh so nutritious.

Jules and Ruby said...

YAY MEEYA...glad i caught you and super glad you saved the marrow/fat. i "think" it should keep a long time. i'm not the food expiration expert, but i keep marrow in the fridge a long time. covered i think it should almost save like bacon fat.
anyways, hope to hear from you soon...Xj
PS...if you find those long bones...ask your butcher to slice them in 1/2 the long way. a lot of butchers won't do it because it's dangerous, but if he will you're soooo lucky. roast and serve with a great presentation.

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