1 qt. milk
Sticks of cinnamon OR three peach leaves
6 eggs, beaten
2 tbs. white sugar
Put a quart of milk into a tin pail or a pitcher that holds two quarts; set it into a kettle of hot water. Tin is better than earthen, because it heats so much quicker. Put in a few sticks of cinnamon, or three peach leaves. When the milk foams up as if nearly boiling, stir in six eggs which have been beaten, with two spoonfuls of white sugar; stir it every instant, until it appears to thicken a little. Then take out the pail, and pour the custard immediately into a cold pitcher, because the heat of the pail will cook the part of the custard that touches it, too much, so that it will curdle. This is a very easy way of making custards, and none can be better. But in order to have them good, you must attend to nothing else until they are finished. You may make them as rich as you choose. A pint of milk, a pint of cream, and eight eggs will make them rich enough for any epicure. So, on the other hand, they are very good with three or four eggs only to a quart of milk, and no cream.
From The Young Housekeeper’s Friend by Mrs. [M.H.] Cornelius, 1863
Comment: As few of us keep tin pails around as cooking utensils these days, it will probably be easier to make this recipe in a double boiler since that is the technique in question here. Custard usually suggests nowadays a semi-solid pudding, eaten with a spoon, but this one is thin enough that it could serve as a drink. Commercially packaged “boiled custard,” indeed a drink, is found in stores in the South in the same part of the dairy case, and at the same time of year, as eggnog. The two drinks are indeed similar in many ways, although eggnog is spicier and goes better with brandy.