Sometimes only custard will do. Not that powdered school dinner type custard mind you (whatever happened to that weird pink custard that they used to serve? What was that all about?). No, I’m talking about rich, creamy, heady with fragrant real vanilla, eat-it-on-its-own-if-you-like, made from scratch custard.
I can still remember during my dinner at the Pudding Club (a wedding present from my friends, thanks guys!) wondering how many gallons of custard they must have gone through that evening.
This recipe makes wonderful rich and silky custard that is delicious hot or cold.
If you live in North America and you’re in it to win it then just use 500ml of half & half instead of the mix of milk and cream. You won’t regret it!
350ml whole milk (see note above)
150ml single cream
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornflour
1 vanilla pod
Split the vanilla pod in two and add it to a medium saucepan along with the liquid. Use a low to moderate heat to bring the liquid to just below boiling point.
Whilst this is happening you can put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour into a large mixing bowl and vigorously whisk them together until they are quite pale and fluffy.
Strain the hot milk/cream/half & half through a fine sieve into a jug. Rinse out the pan. Retrieve the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon or the point of a knife. Whisk the seeds into the eggs and sugar.
Okay, now the tricky bit. If the wonderful smell of the vanilla has suckered someone into loitering in the kitchen then put them to good use by getting them to hold the bowl still. If you’re all on your lonesome then put the bowl on a slightly damp tea towel to stop it from moving around. Whilst continuously whisking the eggs, pour in the hot milk in a steady stream. If you don’t keep the eggs moving, or if your milk is too hot then you’ll get nasty sugary scrambled eggs, so you do need a bit of focus here.
Put the mixture back in the pan and return it to the hob, over a low heat. Keep stirring the custard (making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan) until the custard thickens.
This is delicious served both hot and cold. However if you leave it to cool then cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin from forming.