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Proper egg custard is very easy to make. A richer version can be made be replacing half the milk with cream. A couple of dashes of brandy, added at the end, would make the custard quite Christmassy.
If you have any mishaps making this, and the custard curdles because it's been over-heated, it can sometimes be rescued by turning it into a very cold bowl and whisking it (to reduce the likelihood of this use the optional cornflour).
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500ml/1 pint Milk
1 Vanilla Pod or 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Essence (not Flavouring)
6 Egg Yolks (save the whites for another time - possibly meringues - they freeze well)
120gr/4 oz Caster Sugar
1 rounded teaspoon (5ml) Cornflour - dissolved in a little cold water
1. If using a vanilla pod, split it down its length, then scrap out the seeds (which contain much of the flavour)
2. Put the milk (or milk & cream) into a heavy-based saucepan with the vanilla pods and seeds and slowly bring it to the boil - watching very closely near the end, as milk boils over very suddenly. Remove the liquid from the heat and leave it to stand for 10 minutes to both infuse and cool a little
3. While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar (plus optional cornflour if using) in a big bowl until it's pale and smooth.
4. If you're using a vanilla pod, strain the milk into a new container to remove this and its seeds.
5. Slowly whisk the milk into the egg yolk mixture, then return the saucepan to a low heat and stir it continuously until the custard thickens.
Serve, or if wanting to use cold allow it to cool stirring occasionally to stop a skin forming.