Little custard pots

    45 min

    These creamy baked custards, delicately flavoured with vanilla and accompanied by a fresh cherry compote, are easy to make and sure to be popular with all ages. Take care not to overcook the custards – they should be just set when you take them out of the oven. This dessert can be prepared well ahead of serving.

    8 people made this

    Serves: 6 

    • 600 ml (1 pint) semi-skimmed milk
    • ½ vanilla pod, split
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 40 g (1¼ oz) caster sugar
    • ½ tsp cornflour
    • Cherry compote
    • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
    • 450 g (1 lb) fresh cherries, stoned
    • 2 tsp arrowroot

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Ready in:45min 

    1. Place the milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and heat until almost boiling. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside to infuse for 15 minutes.
    2. Preheat the oven to 160ºC (325ºF, gas mark 3). Put the whole eggs, egg yolks, caster sugar and cornflour into a bowl and lightly whisk together.
    3. Bring the milk back to boiling point, then remove the vanilla pod and pour the hot milk over the egg mixture, whisking all the time. Strain the mixture into a jug, then divide among 6 lightly buttered 120 ml (4 fl oz) ramekin dishes.
    4. Set the ramekins in a roasting tin and pour enough hot water into the tin to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until lightly set – the custards should still be slightly wobbly, as they will continue cooking for a few minutes after being removed from the oven. Lift them out of the tin of hot water and place on a wire rack to cool. Once cold, chill until ready to serve.
    5. For the cherry compote, put the demerara sugar and 6 tbsp water in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and add the cherries. Cover and simmer gently for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Lift out the cherries with a draining spoon and put them into a serving bowl.
    6. Mix the arrowroot with 1 tbsp cold water. Stir into the cherry juices in the saucepan and simmer for 1 minute, stirring, until thickened and clear. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then pour over the cherries. (The compote can be served warm or at room temperature.)
    7. Spoon a little of the cherry compote over the top of each custard pot, and serve the rest of the compote in a bowl.

    Some more ideas

    If you want to turn out the custards for serving, line the bottom of each ramekin with a circle of baking parchment, and add an extra egg yolk to the mixture. After baking, chill for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight. To turn out, lightly press the edge of each custard with your fingertips to pull it away from the dish, then run a knife around the edge. Put an inverted serving plate on top of the ramekin, then turn them both over, holding them firmly together, and lift off the ramekin. * For chocolate custard pots with poached pears, flavour the milk with a thin strip of pared orange zest instead of the vanilla pod. In step 2, replace the caster sugar with light soft brown sugar, and add 1 tbsp sifted cocoa powder. Continue as in the main recipe. For the pears, heat 300 ml (10 fl oz) water with 85 g (3 oz) caster sugar and a split vanilla pod until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil and simmer for 2–3 minutes. Add 4 firm dessert pears, peeled, cored and thickly sliced. Cover and simmer for 12–15 minutes or until just tender, turning the pear slices in the syrup occasionally. Lift out the pears with a draining spoon and transfer to a serving dish. Simmer the syrup for 5 minutes to reduce slightly, then cool for 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod and pour over the pears.

    Plus points

    Adding extra egg yolks in this recipe boosts the content of vitamins A and D and most of the B vitamins, as these nutrients are concentrated in the yolk of the egg rather than the white. * Cherries are rich in potassium and provide useful amounts of vitamin C.

    Each serving provides

    Good source of vitamin B12. Useful source of calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin C, zinc.

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