Crème Anglaise au Figuier

Fig-Leaf Custard

Even if your English figs refuse to ripen – and, denied the southern sun, who could blame them – pluck a leaf or two to give the same, musky scent of the fruit itself to a creamy custard. I first tried this with some wild fig leaves in France after reading about it in Diana Kennedy’s Mexican Regional Cooking.

Ingredients

  • 275 ml(½ pt) single cream
  • 2 small fig leaves
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1–2 tablespoons vanilla-flavoured sugar
  • langue de chat biscuits or fingers of toasted brioche

Method

Bring the cream to the boil with the fig leaves. Lift out the leaves and place in the bottom of a glass serving dish.

Pour the cream on to the egg yolks mixed with the sugar. Return the mixture to the pan and cook carefully (ideally in a double boiler) stirring all the time over moderate heat until the custard coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow the custard to boil or it will go grainy.

Strain the custard through a sieve on to the fig leaves. Cover and set aside to cool then remove the fig leaves and chill the custard.

To serve, spoon into small custard cups or stemmed glasses and serve with the biscuits or brioche, which, if hot, is nice dipped into the chilled cream.

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