Custard

There are comparatively few important sweet sauces. This and fruit coulis are the most common and the most versatile. Custard is a good base for many flavours. Try almond, cocoa or orange and Cointreau. It can be churned as ice cream either straight as vanilla or with any ingredient that takes your fancy.

This recipe looks simple but needs great care especially when adding boiling milk to the egg yolk and sugar mixture, and again when cooking out the sauce. Too much cooking or carelessness will give a grainy sauce. Too little cooking produces a medium which is paradise for bacteria and means a stomach problem around the corner.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz (100 g) caster sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 pint (600 ml) milk

Method

  1. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until the colour pales to white and the texture becomes creamy.
  2. Chop the vanilla pod. Drop it into the milk and bring the milk to the boil.
  3. Trickle the milk on to the egg yolk and sugar mixture, whisking continually.
  4. Return the pan to a very low heat and stir the custard over it for 5 minutes by which time it should have slightly but perceptibly thickened. The custard is cooked.
  5. Strain the sauce through muslin into a clean container. If not for immediate use, refrigerate as soon as the custard cools.
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