Vanilla custard. I could probably eat this with anything! Most recipes I looked at usually asked for 1 tsp of vanilla extract (never use essence in this!), but I think using a vanilla pod just gives it a fragrance that you can't get with bottled flavourings, and also the little specks of vanilla seeds scattered throughout the custard make me happy. (Makes about 1½ cups.)
- 200ml double cream
- 150ml full cream milk
- 3 heaped tbsp caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
- 3 large egg yolks
1. Place the cream, milk, 2 tbsp of the sugar, and the vanilla pod (and seeds) in a small saucepan. Heat it on medium-low, stirring gently all the while, just until it starts to form small bubbles around the edges. Take it off the heat and set it aside for about 5 minutes to allow the vanilla to infuse.
2. In a moderately sized, heat proof mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining tbsp of sugar until pale and frothy.
3. Fish out the vanilla pod, and add one small ladle of the cream mixture into the egg mixture and whisk it well to combine. (Don't add too much or the eggs might curdle from the heat.)
4. When well mixed, add in the rest of the cream mixture one ladle at a time, whisking well to ensure that it is fully incorporated after each ladle.
5. Place the mixing bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and heat it, stirring gently with a wooden spoon throughout.
6. After about 10 minutes, the eggs should thicken the mixture, to a thick, glossy sauce that coats the back of a wooden spoon.
7. Immediately take the bowl off the heat, let it cool for about 10 minutes, then strain it into a jug or bottle. If using a bottle, let it cool completely before sealing. It will store in the fridge for about 5 days.
*Note: To reheat, it's best to use a bain marie (i.e. in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water) to prevent it from curdling. I love cold custard spooned generously over piping hot bread and butter pudding!
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