Gone are the days when you throw that tin of custard in your shopping trolly, sure you can have custard in a few ticks of the microwave but if you have ever tried the real deal then you wont be buying shop brought again.
I will show you how to make proper custard and it couldn't be more simple, takes a few minutes to make and is quite simply delicious with any of your favourite desserts. Some people call it custard but if you're posh you can call it Creme Patissiere or Creme Anglaise.
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Step 1: Ingredients
To make this tasty treat you will need:
- 500ml whole milk
- 100g caster sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 Tbsp of cornflour
- 1 vanilla pod or real vanilla paste, you could use 1 tsp of extract for baking but the real thing is loads better
Step 2: Dealing With the Vanilla
You don't have to use vanilla pods or vanilla beans as they are called in some parts of the world but they do make the world of difference to the overall custard.
Vanilla pods can be a little on the expensive side and extract for baking isn't that great for this, however if you can get it, vanilla paste is a great alternative and much more affordable will also last a fair while. All depends on what you can get your hands on.
Quick tip, when you have finished with the vanilla pod in this recipe, give it a wash and pop it in some sugar, leave it for a while and it will flavour the sugar vanilla. Hey presto, vanilla sugar :)
Step 3: Heat the Milk and Vanilla
From cold, put heavy bottom pan on a low to medium heat, pour in the milk and vanilla mix. Slowly bring this up to just boiling temperature. Don't let it bubble away. As soon as it starts to bubble remove from the heat.
This will infuse the milk with all that delicious vanilla flavour, yummy.
Step 4: Thickening and Sweetening
To thicken the milk we will use eggs and cornflour, the sugar gives a little sweetness to compliment the vanilla.
In a bowl whisk the eggs and the sugar together then add the cornflour and whisk that too until you have a creamy mix, put this to one side while the milk is heating.
Step 5: Vanilla Goodbye
Once the milk is just bubbling, take it off the heat and remove the vanilla pod, it has done its job.
Don't forget that tip on vanilla sugar :)
Step 6: The Risky Bit
Okay, so this bit is where you need to be a little careful if you don't want to end up with scrambled eggs.
Very slowly pour the milk mixture into the egg mix all the time whisking, don't be tempted to just bung all the milk in otherwise the heat will cook the eggs straight away and you will either have to live with lumpy custard or start again.
So be patient and don't stop whisking. The cornflour helps to stabilise the mix but it wont save you if you rush.
After this return the mix to the pan.
Step 7: Thicken to Your Liking
Now your custard is mixed but it will be rather runny.
At this point you can thicken it as much or as little as you like, some people like thick custard, i like mine a little runny. The cooks choice at this point :)
Return the pan to a gentle heat and don't stop whisking otherwise it will burn on the bottom of the pan. Once it is thick, remove from the heat straight away. A tip here is to thicken just a little less than you would like, the eggs will continue to cook with the residual heat and thicken more when you serve.
Step 8: And Enjoy
Serve the custard immediately with a piece of cake or go for the classic bananas and custard. This recipe is very versatile and you can make a whole host of desserts, why not give creme brulee a try...