Vanilla Custard with Roasted Berries

We're halfway through the week! Only two days until Friday...congratulations, you're nearly there. The reward for making it to Wednesday, coping with rapidly dropping temperatures and realisation that Summer is definitely over is home made vanilla custard with roasted berries.

I've got this mild obsession lately with cooked blueberries and blackberries. I put them in my porridge before going in the microwave every morning and the result it is a gorgeous, purple swirled breakfast (that lets me pretend I'm having dessert for breakfast). 

Making custard from scratch was extremely therapeutic. I thought it would stress me out worrying about my eggs accidentally scrambling but I really enjoyed it. I would recommend getting a vanilla pod but extract would work just as well. 

It was just what I needed after a fuzzy headed day in which I turned up to an appointment 4 weeks early...I like to be punctual but I think that was a little too punctual. 

I called by the supermarket on the way home and stumbled upon xanthan gum, which I had been looking for for a while but didn't want to order online because the postage costs more than the product. Thankfully, Tesco has seen the light and are now stocking it as well as coconut oil so I can finally practice some of the recipes from my Babycakes book. If I can just lay my hands on some Stumptown coffee it will be like I'm back in New York.

How incredible is that colour above? I love it so much...which is probably why I keep making purple porridge every morning. I might have to start making up batches of compote to get me through the coming Winter. 

If berries aren't your thing there are loads of toppings that would work with the custard...caramelised bananas, caramel, chocolate or even grilled pineapple. The beauty of a vanilla custard is much like that of ice cream, it will compliment anything and it works just as well on its own. 

Vanilla Custard with Roasted Berries
(recipe from The Smitten Kitchen)

1 cup / 240ml whole milk
Seeds from 1/4 to 1/2 vanilla bean (see Note) or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup / 225g granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 to 2 tablespoons (see Note) unsalted butter

1/2 cup / 125g blueberries
1/2 cup / 75g blackberries
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Juice from a wedge lemon, or to taste

  1. In a small saucepan, combine your milk and vanilla bean flecks (if using extract instead, don’t add it yet). Heat the mixture until it is warm, then set aside. 
  2. In the bottom of another small saucepan, off the heat, whisk your egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar together vigorously, until it pales in colour and a ribbon of batter falls off your whisk when you lift it from the bowl; this will take a few minutes by hand, and likely just one minute with an electric mixer. Whisk in the flour until fully incorporated.
  3. Whisking the whole time, drizzle the warm vanilla-milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, just a tiny bit at a time at first. Once you've added about 1/4 of the milk, you can add the rest in a thin stream, whisking constantly.
  4. Put the saucepan on the hob and heat it over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. Once bubbling, whisk it for 1 to 2 more minutes, then remove it from the heat. Immediately stir in vanilla extract (if using) and butter until combined. 
  5. To cool your custard quickly, place the saucepan in a larger bowl of ice water that will go halfway up the sides of the saucepan (don't let any water get in the pan) and stir the custard until lukewarm, then divide among serving dishes or ramekins. You can also pour it into serving dishes or ramekins still hot, but you should then press cling film against each custard in the fridge so it doesn't form a skin. The custards will keep in fridge for up to 4 days.
  6. To serve: Preheat oven to 220 C/450 F. Place berries in a heatproof, shallow roasting dish and sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar. Roast in oven for 12 to 15 minutes, rolling around once or twice during cooking time to ensure they roast evenly. Don't let the berries collapse too much and turn to sauce. You just want a little trickle of juices puddled across in the bottom. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over berries the second they come out of the oven and roll them back and forth to evenly incorporate it. Spoon hot roasted blueberries and some of their juices over each custard. Eat immediately.