Baked Custard with Ginger

Imbolc - 2nd February (Also known as Imbolg, Oimelc and Candlemas)

A pre-Christian festival, the names Imbolc (meaning 'in the belly') or Oimelc, (meaning 'in milk') referred to the time of year that calves and lambs are born. The festival celebrated the lengthening of the days and the beginning of spring. Despite the cold, the seeds were starting to stir in the ground and milk was poured on the earth as a token of fertility. Candlemas, as we now know it, was the day that all the Church's candles for the year were blessed. It was also the time for the Blessings of the Seeds and consecration of agricultural tools for the coming growing season. On Candlemas night, many people placed lighted candles in their windows at home. People also believed that Candlemas predicted the weather for the rest of winter:

If the sun shines bright on Candlemas Day, The half of Winter's not yet away.
If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, There'll be two Winter's in the year.

If you didn’t manage to take all down of your Christmas decorations by Twelfth Night (January 5th) they should be left up until Candlemas Day and then taken down.

Foods eaten on this festival traditionally were based on dairy products. I hope you enjoy this simple old recipe, we certainly did!

Ingredients - serves 6

3 tablespoon brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten ¼ teaspoon salt
8 fl oz (240ml) milk ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2½oz (75g) granulated sugar  


  1. Mix the brown sugar with the ginger and divide evenly into bottoms of 6 buttered individual custard cups or ramekins.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, blend the eggs with the milk, sugar, vanilla and seasonings.
  3. Pour evenly into the prepared custard cups.
  4. Place the cups in a large pan, then fill with hot water to come halfway up the sides of cups (a hot water bath or bain-marie).
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C/350 F/Gas mark 4 for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the edge comes out clean.
  6. Remove cups from the bain-marie. Run a knife around edges to loosen.
  7. Place serving plate over top of cup and carefully invert custard onto plate. It should be solid enough to hold its shape.
  8. Serve warm or cover, chill and serve cold.


VANILLA (extract)

Ground Ginger