One of the few things which proudly carries an English name tag in international cooking, this refined and slightly runny custard is delicious with any fruit or in sweet pastries, and is very easy to make.
Put the cream and vanilla pod in a pan over a low heat and bring to the point where it is just below boiling.
While it is heating, whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar until you have a pale amalgam which will fall in ribbons from the whisk.
Off the heat, slowly whisk in the hot cream. Pour into a bowl set over simmering water and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it forms a custard thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 10–12 minutes).
Pour and scrape into a bowl, remove the vanilla pod and leave to cool. Rinse the pod, dry and keep for another time.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.