Why This Recipe Works
Producing a plush, silky sformato meant starting with an egg-rich custard base; we used eight eggs and then further enriched the custard by substituting half-and-half for some of the milk in the béchamel. To ensure that the custard baked up silky but fully set, we cooked it to between 175 and 180 degrees and then let it rest in the ramekins for 20 minutes, by which point it had cooled and set up enough to release cleanly. To flavor the custard, we seasoned the béchamel with salty-rich Pecorino Romano as well as black and cayenne peppers and added fresh herbs and lemon zest to the custard. For a flavorful, texturally interesting garnish, we enhanced a classic Italian gremolata with butter-toasted panko bread crumbs and more cheese.