Friday, 18 January 2013

Proper Custard.

This Christmas, from Santa, I got 2 of the biggest, plumpest, shiniest  vanilla pods you have ever seen. Yes, I get excited by vanilla pods and yes SANTA UNDERSTANDS ME...he understands that it’s not every day that you get treated to such fancy baking treats because when it’s just a normal rainy Wednesday and you’re traipsing round Morrisons, it just doesn’t seem quite appropriate to spend £5 on something that you TOTALLY don’t need and that you can get in a jar for the same price and get manyMANY more uses from it.

Santa understands that however delicious smelling the jar stuff is, it doesn’t leave those tiny-beyond-belief black dots behind, and it doesn’t require you to split and run your knife along anything; there’s no cheffy and fancy pants feeling. So he understands that I will squeal actual squeals if he leaves these for me and I get to use them just once a year.

I had to use them soon because there is something most dissatisfying about a dried up old vanilla pod and I had to use them in something that would be ‘all about them’, spoil them and make them the star of the show....they are worth it.

So here is the destiny of pod number one. He is basically the whole point of custard and makes a rather dull egg sauce something special and mmm-inducing. Plus, I thought a recipe for proper custard that is pretty fool proof (you can thank the cornflour) would never be amiss. Expect pod number two to be here soon. With Love and Cake.

Proper Custard.
Adapted from Delia's Complete Cookery Course.

A few notes:
  • Of course if you don't get excited by such things or Santa doesn't understand you, you could definitely replace the vanilla pod with a splash of extract (not essence)...or in fact flavour the custard any way you fancy; maybe with a splash of Cointreau stirred in at the end or brandy. 
  • Do NOT throw away your scraped out vanilla pod, you could drop it into the custard and leave it to infuse even more deliciousness as it heats and remove it before serving, or immerse in a jar of sugar for your own homemade vanilla sugar. Ooooor post them to me and I will just waste time smelling them.
  • Don't be scared of making custard, just don't leave anything unattended and if there's a hint of scrambled eggs, pop the custard in a bowl standing in cold water in your sink to cool it down quickly and whiskwhiskwhisk.
Serves 4
You will need

275ml double cream
3 egg yolks
1 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds removed (like they do on the telly)

  • Pour the cream into a medium sized saucepan and heat gently.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornflour sugar and vanilla seeds until well combined.
  • When the cream has juuuuuust come to the boil, pour it into a jug that will allow you to pour it in a little trickle onto the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
  • Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat very gently, stirring all the time.
  • After just a few minutes the sauce will be thickened and ready. 
  • Pour out of the saucepan into your serving vessel as soon as it's ready to stop any overcooking.
  • Eat hot or chilled (in which case cover the top of the custard with clingfilm to stop a skin forming), poured over something equally delicious. 

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