Crème pâtissière

Homemade custard is one of the tastiest of all treats, and is just as at home in a trifle, spooned over fresh fruit or poured into a pastry crust. Try our easy recipe.

Makes: about 500ml

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 2 minutes

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

140ml castor sugar

40ml cake flour

25ml cornflour

1 vanilla pod or 5ml vanilla extract

500ml milk

1 Beat the eggs, egg yolks and castor sugar together until light and thick. Then beat in the flour and cornflour.

2 Cut the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the small black seeds. Place the seeds and pod in the milk and heat in a saucepan to just below boiling point; the milk will start to ‘steam’ but will not bubble. Remove from the stove.

3 Remove the vanilla pod and pour the milk into the egg mixture, beating all the time. Wipe out the saucepan in which the milk has been boiled, using a kitchen towel, and return the egg mixture to the saucepan. Place on the stove again and slowly bring to boiling point, beating constantly.

4 Simmer until the custard is ‘cooked’, beating continuously. This will take about two minutes. If the custard is not cooked for long enough, it will have a floury aftertaste. Allow to cool.

TIP Place a small piece of clingfilm directly onto the surface of the custard in the saucepan while cooling so that it does not form a skin.

For the trifle Leave the custard to cool completely, then alternately layer slices of readymade Swiss roll (sprinkled with brandy), almond brittle, pieces of meringue and berries with the custard in a glass bowl. Chill the trifle in the fridge for an hour before serving. To finish, top with sweetened whipped cream and extra berries, tie a ribbon around the bowl – and invite the angels to enjoy dessert with you.

Crème pâtissière, or confectioners’ custard, can be flavoured in a number of ways: for choux puffs, flavour the milk with coffee or chocolate; for trifle, use orange liqueur or caramel extract instead of vanilla. For the ultimate in decadence, fold whipped cream into the cooled custard and serve it between layers of featherlight flaky pastry, accompanied by fresh fruit.

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April 2023

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