Timbales are little custards that are so named because their shape resembles a kettledrum — timbale in French. These noodle timbales are especially rich and luscious, and need only a salad and side vegetable as accompaniments. They are virtually foolproof and reheat very well.
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Note: If you are not going to serve all of the timbales at one sitting, you can keep them in the cups and they will reheat very well the next day. Place them in a saucepan with about 1 inch of water, cover the pan, and heat over medium heat until hot throughout, about 10-15 minutes.
- 2 Cups fine egg noodles
- 6 eggs, beaten well
- 5/6 Cups heavy or whipping cream
- 1/3 Cup milk
- 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan
- 1/4 Teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Butter, for the ramekins
- 2/3 Cups pesto or winter pesto*
Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente. Drain very well, then put in a large bowl and let cool slightly.
Add the beaten eggs, ½ cup of the cream, milk, Parmesan, and salt. Season with pepper, to taste, and mix well. (May be prepared to this point up to 8 hours in advance, covered, and refrigerated.)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Butter eight 1-cup custard cups or small soufflé dishes and fill evenly with the mixture. (Smaller cups can be used but be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.) Place the custard cups in a large baking dish and fill the dish with enough hot water to reach 1/3 up the sides of the cups. (This bain-marie, or water bath, ensures gentle, moist cooking and is essential.) Bake until a knife inserted in the center of one comes out clean, for 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Combine the remaining cream and the pesto in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until piping hot, stirring constantly.
Remove the cups from the baking dish, and loosen the timbales by inserting a knife around the edges. Invert them onto a platter (or dry the baking dish they were in and use that if it is suitable), and spoon the sauce over them. Serve immediately.