Custard, we British adore it. I adore it. Poured over hot fruit pies, puddled around steaming puds. We simply cannot get enough of this delicious dessert accompaniment. Easily bought ready made in cartons, or from the chilled cabinet in supermarkets. Also deliciously made using ‘Birds’ custard powder. While all of these are good options, the very best is to make your own, from scratch, at home. Let me show you my simple, yet Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard.
Since this recipe uses fresh egg yolks and cornflour, it is virtually foolproof. Indeed, it takes no longer to create this fresh custard from scratch, than it does to make a jug of ‘Birds’ custard by hand. Yet the taste is far superior in every single imaginable way. Creamy, with a distinct vanilla flavour. Also known as Creme Anglaise, this is THE custard to serve alongside a hot dessert.
As egg yolks are essential to a great custard, it really does make sense to buy free range or organic eggs. While you are rewarded with deeply golden yolks, it’s handy to know that the whites can be frozen for up to one month. Simply defrost, bring up to room temperature and bake a Pavlova, such as my Mixed Berry Pavlova.
Homemade Amazing Apple Pie cries out to be covered in creamy, delicious, Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard. Also, if you, like me, enjoy the hot/cold combination of custard and vanilla ice cream. Well, let’s just say I’m absolutely not going to judge. If you haven’t tried it, you are seriously missing out!
Note: To make a thicker custard for trifles, increase the cornflour to 3 teaspoons.
Recipe: Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard makes 500ml
300ml Double Cream
200ml Whole Milk
4 Large Free Range Egg Yolks – the whites can be frozen for up to one month
1 Vanilla Pod or 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey
1 tsp Cornflour also known as corn starch – I use Doves Farm
4 tbsp Caster Sugar
- First of all, pour the milk and cream into a heavy bottomed saucepan. Place over a medium heat. Heat until bubbles appear around the edge of this liquid. This is known as the scalding point. Once scalding point is reached, remove the saucepan from the heat.
- While the cream mixture is heating, make the egg base. Separate 4 eggs, placing the yolks into a large, heatproof bowl.
- Next, add the cornflour, sugar and seeds from a vanilla pod, or vanilla bean extract.
- Whisk the ingredients in the bowl together until fully combined.
- With the whisk on slow, pour the scalded cream mixture slowly into the bowl, increasing whisking speed at the end.
- Pour the hot, liquid back into the saucepan and place back over a medium/low heat.
- Stir continuously and the custard will start to thicken. DO NOT heat the custard until it bubbles vigorously, as could will result in a burnt, scrambled egg like mixture.
- When the custard has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon remove from the heat.
- Pour the custard through a sieve into a heatproof bowl. If making ahead, place cling film directly on top of the custard, to stop a skin from forming. Allow to cool and then refrigerate. To reheat, pour the custard back into a saucepan and heat over a low/medium temperature, stirrring continuously until it is hot. Don’t reheat in a microwave, as the custard may scramble.
- To use immediately, pour the hot custard into a jug.
To serve, simply pour the custard over, or around your favourite dessert.
Store freshly made custard, cling filmed as above, in the fridge for up to 2 days.
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Since I use cornflour that is guaranteed to be gluten free, people with certain dietary restrictions can also enjoy this custard. Hot, homemade desserts are made more delicious when accompanied by this easy to make custard. There will always be a time when it’s pre-made alternative is necessary. Yet special occasions, such as Christmas are the perfect opportunity to treat your tastebuds to the very best.
Whatever you are baking, making and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.
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