So, I thought it might be useful if I also posted the recipe I use for that too.
I'm afraid I have no photos, but cast from your mind the image of bright yellow, gloopy, lumpy school custard, and imagine instead a gloriously rich, pale yellow, creamy smooth elixir, flecked with dark vanilla seeds. Drool-inducing, I promise you!
This really is very easy. The one potential problem comes from curdling or splitting the custard during heating, but this can be easily avoided by a slight cheat - adding a teaspoon of cornflour helps to stabilise the mixture, without effecting the finished product. You can leave it out if you feel confident in your custarding abilities!
Real Custard (serves 6)
- 1 vanilla pod
- 275ml double cream
- 3 large egg yolks (keep the whites for meringues, they freeze well)
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 25g caster sugar
Meanwhile, in a heatproof-mixing bowl combine the egg yolks, sugar, and cornflour. Remove the vanilla pod from the cream. This can be rinsed, left to dry, and used to make vanilla sugar - just pop the pod into a jar of caster sugar and leave it for a few days.
Slowly pour the hot cream over the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Return the custard to the saucepan and place back on the heat.
Keep the heat very low, and stir the custard constantly until it thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. This should take around 10 minutes or so, but don't rush it. If the custard starts to look grainy or split, remove from the heat and stir it quickly. As it cools, the cornflour should bring it back together. You can then place it back on the heat and carry on.
Once thick the custard can be kept warm in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Cover with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming.
Unless you're like me, and enjoy the cook's perk of stealing the skin before serving!