There’s a world of difference between the yellow-coloured white sauce you make from custard powder and real vanilla custard. It’s easy to make, so don’t compromise with anything other than the real thing. It’s the perfect accompaniment for rhubarb crumble. If you use genuinely free-ranging chicken eggs it will be bright yellow without any colouring.
six egg yolks
half a litre of full fat milk
seeds scraped from half a vanilla pod (or you can use vanilla paste)
two tablespoons caster sugar
Scald the milk by bringing it to steaming point in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Put the six egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Add the hot milk and whisk with a balloon whisk. Tip back into the pan, add the vanilla and heat slowly, whisking all the time. Resist the temptation to turn up the heat or the egg will curdle. After a while the sauce will thicken. Turn off the heat and continue whisking for a few more minutes until thickened and cooled. Pour into a jug to serve.