Sometimes you just need a really good basic recipe. This easy custard is rich with eggs and cream and flavoured with fresh vanilla. Make a batch for the family this weekend to go with your favourite pudding.
Split the vanilla pod in half and scrape the seeds out with the point of a knife. Put both the pod and seeds in a medium pan with the milk and cream. Bring to the boil slowly then take off the heat and leave to stand.
Lightly whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar (and cornflour if you are using it) until pale and thick.
Whisk in the vanilla-infused milk – fish the pod out first – then wipe out the pan (to get rid of any milk that has caught on the base) and strain the custard mixture back in. Put it back on a medium heat, stirring continuously until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Don’t let it overheat or boil or the egg will curdle. Serve with your favourite pudding.