Layered With Summer Berries . . .
Cinnamon sprinkled peaches, or ripe figs in the fall, this faintly sweet custard makes it's way to our breakfast table every season of the year. Wholesome fats and protein plus many vitamins and minerals (calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorous, B-Vitamins, Vitamin K and Vitamin A to name a few), make this a deeply nourishing dish for everyone, but it's infusion of marrow makes in an especially important for children.
As noted by Dr. Price in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, traditional cultures such as the indigenous people of the Rocky Mountains often made special preparations of marrow for growing children. We're still unraveling all the specific benefits of this revered food, but we have learned a few things. First, marrow contains phospholipids and methionine - two essential components for proper brain growth and overall function. Second, the monounsaturated fats contained in marrow are known to lower LDL cholesterol levels and support cardiovascular health. Also, thanks to a hunch from Swedish oncologist Dr. Brohult, we have a little insight into it's healing capabilities as well.
Drawing On The Scandinavian Tradition . . .
Of feeding children marrow soup to build strength in winter months, Dr. Brohult decided to try a little exercise with leukemia patients in her care:
In an effort to stimulate her patients’ bone marrow to resume normal function, Dr. Brohult administered calve’s marrow to the children in her care. She was operating on little more than a hunch. Parents in Scandinavia have long served bone marrow soup to their children in winter, in the belief that it builds strength. Dr. Brohult reasoned that healthy bone marrow from calves might trigger a resumption of healthy function in humans.
Her hope—and desperation—paid off. Although the results were inconsistent, some of her patients quickly experienced remarkable improvements, including a normalization of white blood cell counts and a striking return of energy. ¹
Dr. Buhult's team traced eventually traced the benefits to alkylglycerols, or AKGs, contained within the marrow. Later studies on AKG's showed that when they were given to cervical cancer patients, tumors regressed even before radiation treatment began! ²
A Perfect "First Food"
To make this recipe more affordable I have incorporated whole eggs rather than the yolks traditionally used. However, by replacing whole eggs with 6 pastured yolks and omitting the honey, this recipe becomes a perfect early food for baby. For more information on how and when to introduce solids check out this post, and for more recipe ideas check out my ebook, Nourished Baby.
This recipe was inspired by this one from the Weston A. Price Foundation, whom I am deeply indebted to for their incredible work in promoting traditional diets, and also this one at The Healthy Home Economist.
Sweet Marrow Custard with Vanilla Bean
- Bring marrow bones to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. While you’re waiting on the marrow preheat oven to 350°F and place four ramekins in large roasting pan.
- In large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, egg, milk/coconut milk, vanilla, honey and salt.
- When the marrow is ready, scoop the bones out with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl to drain. After they’ve cooled a bit use a butter knife to extract the marrow. Place it in a small bowl. Set aside for a minute while you pour the egg mixture into the blender or get out an immersion blender.
- Spoon marrow – but not the oil that has collected at the bottom of the bowl – into the mixture and blend until smooth.
- Pour custard mixture into cups, dividing equally.
- Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards are set in center, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Top with fruit, if desired.