I came to love custard sauces when I was a graduate student in England. The custard in this recipe is a riff on Sally Schneider's custard sauce in "A New Way to Cook," and it is exactly what I need when I want a large quantity of something sweet (but not too sweet), simple and nutritious to eat in short order, without a lot of fuss.
N.B., the quantities can be easily multiplied to make additional servings. —mwb
- Serves 1, generously
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons
lemon zest, to taste
1/2 inch pieces
arrowroot starch (such as Bob's Red Mill)
- Gently rinse your blackberries; scrub and zest your lemon; and cut off your piece of vanilla bean, scoring it down the middle to reveal its seeds.
- Add the lemon zest and the cut piece of vanilla pod to a small non-reactive pot with all but a few teaspoons of milk (don't worry about precision here; just reserve a little bit of the milk for Step 3). Scald over medium-low heat, and then turn off the heat. Stir in the sugar.
- In a small bowl, mix the arrowroot powder with the reserved bit of milk, and mix until the arrowroot is dissolved. Whisk in the egg.
- Slowly whisk the warm lemon-and-vanilla infused milk and sugar mixture into the egg mixture. Once the two are thoroughly mixed, add the combined mixture back into the saucepan you used to warm the milk.
- Cook the custard in the saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking constantly as it thickens to coat the back of a spoon. The custard will be loose, but it will look like a thick custard sauce when it's done -- trust your eyes as it comes together.
- Remove the pot from the heat and briefly whisk the custard again to blend in any little lumps. Don't worry about any that remain; they aren't important. Remove the piece of vanilla pod.
- Cool the custard for a few minutes in the refrigerator (10-15 minutes as a guideline, not a mandate) to thicken slightly, and then spoon it over the berries and devour.