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Delta Delicious with Martha Hall Foose: Autumn is the season for deep rich flavors

By Martha Hall Foose

Delta Delicious with Martha Hall Foose: Autumn is the season for deep rich flavors


These little cups full of exquisitely creamy custard with the welcome Fall flavor of dark brown sugar are fancy enough for sit-down dinner in the dining room with the good china and comforting enough for snuggling up with on the couch. This comes together pretty easily, especially if you have all of your pots, pans and utensils ready before you begin.



6 large egg yolks (save whites for another use, like an egg-white omelet)

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

1/4 cup dark brown sugar


Heat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large heatproof bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cream, milk and brown sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and keep warm.

In a medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar with 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook without stirring until the mixture becomes dark amber, swirling the pan if hot spots develop. Whisk in the remaining cream mixture.

In a slow steady stream, whisk the cream and sugar mixture into the egg yolks. Add the vanilla and salt. (Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, if desired, for an extra smooth pudding.)

Ladle the custard into 6 (4-ounce) custard cups.

Line a roasting pan with a dishtowel. Place the custard cups on the towel. Place the roasting pan on the middle rack in the oven. Fill the roasting pan with enough hot tap water to reach halfway up the custard cups. Cover the roasting pan with foil. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, until the custards barely jiggle when lightly shaken.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven and remove the foil. Allow the custards to cool in the water to room temperature. Transfer the custards to the refrigerator and chill for at least one hour. — Serves 6




It drives my husband crazy. The first hint of chill in the autumn air, I am ready to stoke the fireplace. When the days shorten, and it’s dark before you know it, whipping-up this glorified cheese toast and pairing it with a spinach salad signifies the season has changed.

Whipped egg whites elevate the sharp, red rined, hoop cheese. Whole grain mustard, Worcestershire sauce and a bit of horseradish give the puffed-up cheese topping a wallop of flavor. This is also a favorite dish with the hunters in my family when they come in from the cold.

I like to serve this with a little dollop of Major Grey chutney or a sweet and savory pepper jelly.



1/2 pound hoop cheese or extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)

3 large eggs separated

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


Heat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the cheese, egg yolks, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and horseradish. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whip the egg whites until they hold a smooth, stiff peak. Fold a third of the egg whites into the cheese. Fold in the remaining whites.

Place the toast in a baking dish and spread the cheese mixture over them. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is puffy and bubbly-brown around the edges.



Martha Hall Foose, the author of “Screen Doors & Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales of a Southern Cook,” won the James Beard Award for American Cooking. Her latest collaboration is “A Good Meal is Hard to Find: Storied Recipes from the Deep South” with Amy C. Evans. Martha makes her home in the Mississippi Delta with her husband and son. She is a member of Yazoo Valley Electric Power Association.

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