Traditional English Custard (Creme Anglais)

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“This recipe is really simple and makes fantastic creamy custard to go with your favourite dessert. If put in an ice cream maker, this also becomes lovely vanilla ice cream. Alternatively, refrigerate then sprinkle on caster sugar and blast with a blow torch just before serving to make a crisp-topped creme brulee. When choosing a vanilla pod, make sure you choose the plumpest ones available. It should be pliable, not brittle.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Put the cream and the sugar in a pan.
  2. Slice the vanilla pod lengthways with a very sharp knife. Scrape out the seeds (they are dust-like black specks) and put these in the pan. Roughly chop the seed pod into inch-long chunks and put in the pan, too.
  3. Bring to the boil, then simmer for five minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, put the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk slightly to break up.
  5. When the cream is ready, bring back to the boil briefly then quickly pour over the eggs, whisking as you do it. It is very important to keep whisking at this stage, otherwise the eggs will cook before mixing with the cream. Continue to whisk until the mixture starts to thicken, indicating that the eggs are cooked.
  6. If this should not happen (sometimes it doesn't if my kitchen is too cold), then place back on the heat and cook very gently, stirring all the time, until it thickens.
  7. Strain through a fine sieve to remove the bits of vanilla pod (you will still see the flecks of vanilla seeds in the mixture) and serve.

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