It is easy to forget the pure and simple goodness of this dish. Crème caramel (below) is a variation with a caramel sauce topping.
If possible use a vanilla pod in the custard, as the flavour of real vanilla makes all the difference, but, if necessary, substitute 2teaspoonsvanilla essence. You can make a baked egg custard simply with 3 or 4eggs but I prefer a richer version made using 3 whole eggs plus 2 extra yolks with 600ml (1pint) milk. These quantities.
Put the milk in a saucepan with 75g (3oz) caster sugar, a split vanilla pod and a sliver of lemon rind. Bring just to the boil, then cover, remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes for the flavours to infuse.
Whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks together to mix, then pour on to the warm milk, whisking all the time. Strain the custard mixture through a sieve into a buttered 1litre (1¾pint) ovenproof dish.
Put the dish in a bain-marie in the centre of a preheated oven, 160°C, 325°F, Gas Mark 3 and bake for about 1 hour or until firm and a knife tip inserted in the centre of the custard comes out clean.