This is Albert's lunch, in his words:
"I have a cream cheese-cucumber-and-tomato sandwich on rye bread," said Albert. "and a pickle to go with it. And a hard-boiled egg and a little cardboard shaker of salt to go with that. And a thermos bottle of milk. And a bunch of grapes and a tangerine. And a cup custard and a spoon to eat it with."
I made the cup custards in tiny little quarter-pint canning jars - they can easily handle the oven heat and when they're cool, you put a lid on them (screw-top or the traditional lid and ring) and there you go: a cup custard to pack in the lunchbox.
I find quarter-pints very handy little containers to have around, but glass custard cups or ceramic ramekins work just fine as well. Cup custards use pantry staples, are fall-over easy to make, and are quite respectably nutritious.
Baked Cup Custards, adapted slightly from Moosewood
Place in a small saucepan:
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
Stir over low heat until the chocolate chips are melted. Pour into a blender.
Add to the blender:
1 cup cold milk (be sure to add this first to cool down the hot milk mixture)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Buzz until well-mixed and frothy. Pour the chocolately liquid into oven-proof ramekins, custard cups, or quarter-pint canning jars; have at least 6-8 containers.
Set the filled cups in a baking pan without touching each other or the side. Add water around the cups so that the water comes halfway up their sides.
This is the tricky part! Carefully, steadily, place the pan of water with the custard cups in it in the oven; bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, until the custards are firm in the middle when the cup is jiggled.
Use a jar lifter or tongs to remove the cups from the (now hot) water bath. When cool, cover and store in the fridge. Will keep for up to a week.
Great served with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream on top (depending on your chocolate, this chocolate custard is not overly sweet - you can add a 1/4 cup more chocolate chips if you wish).
To make maple custard, skip the chocolate chips and the heated milk. Add 1/3 cup real maple syrup and a dash of nutmeg.