Another part of Christmas dinner, I volunteered to make this reasoning that being very proficient in cheese sauce and having had one successful attempt at crème pâtissière, I wouldn’t disgrace myself or annoy other people. I consulted the oracle (emailed my mother) and received this reply:
Are you making ‘proper’ eggy custard or just Bird’s outa the
packet? Only two things to remember – eggy, don’t boil or it’ll curdle;
powder, boil or it’ll not thicken well (both – stir like mad!).
I decided to use the most reliable cookbook I own, The Reader’s Digest Cookery Year (1976). I separated 4 eggs, went to Crouch End to buy vanilla pods (while wondering how I had become that sort of person) and was assured by the hostess that she had adequate milk and sugar.
The measuring jug wasn’t clean by the time I started making the custard so I guess a pint, I used half a vanilla pod, having bought some huge ones. It was also discovered that there was only demerara sugar in the house. I probably didn’t leave the vanilla to infuse in the milk for long enough – it was probably ten minutes, but it was also after 9pm on Christmas day, so things were a bit… blurry.
At one stage, lumps started to form and I asked for the ancient tin of custard powder left behind by an earlier tenant (every houseshare has one) to be located (it was behind the bread bin), but after switching from spoon to whisk, the harder I worked, the custardier it became.
The final custard was milder, paler and foamier (almost fluffy) than custards I have had in the past made with cornflour. It probably would have benefited from a scrape of nutmeg and slightly longer to infuse with vanilla, but other than that I was pleased with it and it was well received by the rest of the party.
Sauced by Elly