English (Probably) Custard
- 200ml cream
- 700ml whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 100g powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine the cream and milk in a saucepan. Heat it until it's just steaming. Beat the egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar together in a large bowl.
Temper the egg mixture with the milk - that means drizzling the hot milk into the eggs while whisking the eggs constantly. When the egg and milk mixtures are all together, pour it back into the saucepan. Stir constantly over low heat, making sure to scrape the bottom as you go. When it's thickened enough to coat the spoon nicely, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Serve warm if that's your thing, but it's better cold.
I'm not traditional or English, so when I needed to make traditional English custard I turned to the first resource that made sense to me: the BBC. They wouldn't lie to me about this kind of thing, would they? I've made custard many times since and have barely altered the recipe from theirs. The standout is that I add salt. I didn't even change the measurements from metric. I have a scale and metric lines on my measuring cup, so I never bothered translating it to imperial. I can't find double cream, but if you can, use it instead of regular.
This custard is the dessert version of mother sauce. You can change up the flavors with different extracts and spices. You can use it in place of or in addition to whipped cream to make a dessert extra special. Toss it with cake cubes to make trifle. Tint it pink for tubby custard (tubby custaaaad!). Add brandy, whiskey, or rum and some nutmeg to turn it into eggnog. Serve it with fishsticks to reorient yourself after a fraught regeneration. Or, and this is the thing I do the most, just eat it with a spoon. Try not to eat the spoon, though.