I'm not mad, you know.

I have this plan to serve a meal backwards - coffee and brandy, then dessert, then a main, then starters, then champagne. Except that of course each stage will be tailored to work in the actual order, which mostly means making a savoury dessert and a sweet starter.

Honestly, i'm really not mad. I've been tested.

For the savoury dessert, i plan to make that celebrated stodgy English treat, jam roly-poly. To make it savoury, i will use something like red pesto instead of jam. Or it might be a savoury version of some other suet pudding - spotted dick or figgie hobbin with olives instead of currants, perhaps.

Pudding needs custard. What can i use as a savoury custard?

One option is simply to make a savoury custard. Cream, eggs, no sugar, and perhaps black pepper instead of vanilla. Would that work from a purely physico-chemical point of view? Would it be disgusting? Apparently it works on top of moussaka, but that's a baked custard.

How about a Béchamel sauce, or some derivative of it? Perhaps with some cheese, to make it a custardy yellow and give it more interest?

A Hollandaise sauce might be the closest thing to a savoury custard, what with having eggs in. I've never made one, though, and it looks too difficult for me.

Any thoughts?

3 Answers 3


Why not make a thick cream sauce, like an Alfredo or some such?

It's basically some cream with some white wine and maybe a little flour. You can add some parmesan to it, if you want it a little thicker and yellower.

I'm not sure what would happen if you beat an egg into it as well, but it might be worth a chance.

I'd also consider using beetroot for the filling. It has a very satisfying red colour, and it's a little sweet in itself, which should go well.

  • I think perhaps Alfredo is an American term; i can find recipes for it, but no explanation of what it is. I've never come across it here on Airstrip One. It sounds like béchamel with cream cheese instead of roux; does it taste about the same? In the end i just made a really tasteless béchamel and advised my guests it was purely ornamental. They ate it all anyway. Sep 23, 2011 at 16:20
  • 1
    Proper Italian Alfredo isn't so much a sauce as it is a technique. It's also hardly known by that name in Italy, where it's usually called "pasta al burro" (pasta with butter). It's basically just pasta dressed with butter and Parmigiano; the heat of the pasta melts and emulsifies the cheese with the butter. Americanized Alfredo is frequently a basic white sauce flavored with Parmigiano (or shudder American-made Parmesan).
    – DrRandy
    Jun 23, 2014 at 7:37

I think a savory cheese spread would be a good complement. Maybe something like Boursin cheese, perhaps blended with sour cream.

  • In terms of flavour, that would have been a really, really good accompaniment - tomatoes, cheese, herbs, garlic. The only problem is that it doesn't give the visual impression of custard. Sep 23, 2011 at 16:16

You can make a savory custard sauce.

I have made a recipe a few times, a dish of asparagus in a savory custard sauce - the sauce recipe includes egg yolk, cream, pepper, nutmeg, salt. The cream was heated on stovetop, egg yolks tempered, and the sauce heated again till it thickened - the same basic steps as a sweet custard, if I recall correctly. The sugar may well change the sauce, but not to the point of failure without it. This recipe turned out very well, it was well received by everyone who tried it, so the sauce itself is not a problem.

I realize this is a little late for your planned meal, but it might be useful for future plans or other readers.

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