Monthly Recipe / Vanilla custard pot with roasted plums

Vanilla Custard Pot with Roasted Plums

For the custard (makes 8 pots):

  • 500ml/17fl oz double cream
  • 200ml/7fl oz whole milk
  • 160g/5 oz caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthwise
  • 6 large eggs, yolks only

For the roasted plums:

  • 8 to 12 small and ripe red plums such as Victoria, Quetsche or Czar
  • caster sugar

1. To make the custard, combine the cream and milk and five tablespoons of the sugar in a large saucepan. Scrape the beans from the vanilla pod and add along with the pod. Simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit to infuse for an hour, then reheat the cream mixture until just warm. Whisk the yolks with the remaining sugar in a large bowl until just combined, then pour over the warm milk and strain. Pour into a jug and allow to cool to room temperature.

2. To cook, pour the custard into eight little pots or ramekins and place in a deep-sided baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper, leaving space between each pot. Place the baking tray on a baking sheet – this will provide double insulation and help the custards set evenly. Cover each pot with clingfilm. Add enough water to the tray to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 45 minutes. To test whether they are ready, remove a ramekin from the oven and shake it gently – the custard should be slightly wobbly. Remove the ramekins from the bain-marie and set on a cooling rack. Allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator for at least four hours before serving. They will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days.

3. Next, halve the plums and arrange, cut side up, in a roasting tin. Wrap a couple of the plum stones in a tea towel and pound with a rolling pin to reveal the fragrant kernels. Place the kernels in the base of the roasting tin and sprinkle the fruit with a thin layer of caster sugar.

4. Cover tightly with aluminium foil and roast in an oven preheated at 180C for 20-25 minutes, until the plums are beginning to fall apart and the syrup has turned a deep pink colour. Discard the plum kernels and leave to cool completely.

5. When ready to serve, place each custard pot onto a small plate lined with a napkin. Cover each custard with 2 roasted plum halves and a spoonful of syrup.