Morbid Curiosity

Morbid Curiosity: Fish Custard

Upon seeing the title of this post, a person (at least, a person identifying as a Doctor Who fan) might ask me, “Jen, did you choose this recipe simply because it reminded you of Doctor Who, and you miss your favorite show?” And I would glance around guiltily, shuffle my feet, and mumble, “Yes.”

If you aren’t up on your Doctor Who plot-lines, I’ll give you a brief synopsis of the relevant facts:

Once upon a wibbly wobbly time, a Raggedy Doctor with a funny blue telephone box landed rather badly in the garden of a young girl named Amelia Pond. Because he was a silly old man who had very recently regenerated into a silly young man, he was a little bit out of sorts. Shortly after his arrival, he tried and rejected a variety of perfectly acceptable foods before deciding upon his favorite: fish fingers and custard.

So, when I found a recipe for fish custard in a British cookbook from 1948, I did a happy little dance (and afterwards looked around to make sure no one saw me). Yes, I know fish custard is somewhat different than fish fingers and custard, but the concept is similar. You’ve got fish! You’ve got custard! The only difference is that it’s in one convenient dish instead of making a person (or Timelord) go through all the trouble of dipping their fish fingers into the custard. You might call it Deconstructed Reconstructed Doctor Who Cuisine. Or not.

Did a small part of my delusional, nerdy mind hope that I could summon a TARDIS to my garden by making a fish custard? Maybe. Did I lay out a plate of Jammie Dodgers just in case? Yes.

Fish custard tastes like almost nothing. It’s a soft, eggy baked custard with soft, bland pieces of flakey white fish in it. It really isn’t anything to write home about. Unless your home is on Gallifrey.

A dish of fish custard.
Dear Doctor: I made some fish custard for you. You can show up any time now.

Fish Custard
1½ lb. filleted haddocks
1 dessertspoonful* flour
1 teaspoonful butter
1 egg
1 teacup* milk
pepper and salt

Cut fish into pieces and place in a pie-dish. Sprinkle pepper and salt over it, then mix in a bowl 1 dessertspoonful flour, teaspoonful butter (melted), 1 egg (well beaten), 1 teacupful milk. Pour this mixture over fish and put in a moderate oven for 35 minutes. (Halibut is good with a squeeze of lemon juice over.)

*I found an excellent resource for converting archaic or “heirloom” units of measurement. According to the conversion chart, 1 dessertspoonful = about 2 tsp, and 1 teacupful = about ¾ cup.

The recipe featured in this post comes from the Tried Favourites Cookery Book, by Mrs. E. W. Kirk.  Twenty-sixth and Enlarged Edition printed in 1948.

By Jen R. L. Disarray

Jen was once described as a "culinary anthropologist". She liked that. When she is not making questionable foods, Jen enjoys reading, sassing, and lurking all over the internet. Jen has a blog called Maybe We Shouldn't Be Eating This, and she is a contributor to the Geekquality podcast and blog.

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