In response to Beth’s post, I would like to stand up for custard. I agree that the so-called custard filling in products like vanilla slice or profiteroles besmirches the good name of custard, as does the store-bought variety. The real deal is the homemade stuff, and it is ridiculously easy to make. Warmed custard with sliced banana was a Carvan family dessert staple when I was growing up, and taught me that custard doesn’t have to play second fiddle as some kind of dessert accompaniment. It’s the main game, people, and a ripper of a dessert because you usually have the ingredients at hand, and it creates minimal washing up. Plus, I would say it’s not that bad for you, as far as desserts go. I think Karen would approve of it, for example.
I have already made custard since getting back to Australia, even. It’s one of Nathan’s favourite things, and on this recent occasion he ate most of it straight out of the saucepan in one sitting. Make your husbands and children happy, and go make custard right now.
- 2 cups milk, or 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream (with cream it thickens more quickly it seems)
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla essence or extract
- 4 egg yolks – whack the whites in the freezer to make meringue some time
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 1/4 cup caster sugar, or even less
- Combine milk, and cream if using, in a small saucepan. Add vanilla seeds or flavouring. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until hot (do not allow to boil). Remove saucepan from heat.
- Whisk egg yolks, cornflour and sugar in a heatproof bowl until well combined. Pour hot milk mixture over egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
- Wash and dry the saucepan thoroughly, or get a new one, then put the custard mixture back in and on low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes or until custard thickens and forms a coating on the back of a spoon which you can draw a line through with your finger. Don’t let it get close to boiling or it will curdle. This is the bit which people are afraid of, but it’s really pretty foolproof if you’re watchful. I usually find mine thickens within 5 minutes because I put the heat on medium and stir rapidly, because I don’t have the patience for cooking anything on low heat. Then you pour it back into the bowl you used for whisking and serve after about five minutes or when it’s cooled. You can basically make it as far in advance as suits you. You can put Glad wrap on it to stop a skin forming, but the skin of custard is delicious, and always highly sought-after in my family.