Sunday, 22 July 2012

Baked Vanilla Custard with Blackcurrant Compote

What an elegant little dessert this is, and it shows that the British Isles can give any country a run for their money in the food stakes, in my humble opinion.  This recipe is all about the best ingredients - the best milk and Jersey cream, and intense little blackcurrants, whose fragrance, as they gently cooked, filled the flat today.  Now, I'm not pretending the baked custards are low fat, but with 200ml of double cream and 400ml of milk between 4 people, they are not as rich as, say, panna cotta or  creme brulee.  However, gently baked and chilled, they deliver a silky smooth texture.  We need to rescue the British baked custard, which has suffered from the popularity of these other two desserts (although, in fact, the English can lay claim to Creme Brulee as their own, Trinity Burn't Cream, from Cambridge). The blackcurrant has also suffered, I think, from the blueberry's sweeter (and, perhaps, slightly bland?) taste, and it is definitely an 'adult' tangy fruit.  How sad that most of the country's crop goes towards making Ribena.  Please use it in this compote and stir into yoghurt, over pancakes and ice cream and stirred into cream as a fool.  Or as one of the components of Summer Pudding (to be made next week, I hope)  Sweetened to taste, and perhaps with some Creme de Cassis, as in this recipe, you'll be rewarded with a burst of intense berry fruitiness, and all the vitamin C and antioxidants you could wish for.  As for the recipe itself for this lovey pud - well, it is from the great Irish chef Richard Corrigan, via Riverford Organic's website - here it is, do try it, your guests and family will thank you profusely.  I made the custards in individual silicone ramekins and baked them for 30 minutes or so, until just set.  The silicone makes them very easy to turn out, but making them in one dish and spooning out would be good too.

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