Portuguese Custard

A smooth, creamy dessert, Portuguese Custard is flavoured with a hint of port and nutmeg. Serve with whipped cream and any fresh fruit in season.

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

10 fl. oz. single cream

5 fl. oz. milk

4 oz. sugar

10 fl. oz. warm water

3 egg yolks

2 eggs

1 tablespoon port

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to warm 325 °F (Gas Mark 3, 170°C). Using the teaspoon of oil, grease a U-pint heatproof mould.

Place the cream and milk in a medium-sized saucepan and heat over low heat until the mixture is just tepid. Remove the pan from the heat and set the pan aside.

Meanwhile, make the caramel. Place the sugar in a small saucepan. Pour in half the water and set the pan over low heat.

Stirring constantly, heat the mixture until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to moderately high and boil until the caramel is a deep brown colour. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the remaining water until the mixture is smooth. Very gradually pour the caramel into the warm milk and cream mixture, stirring constantly.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, using a wire whisk or rotary beater, beat the egg yolks and eggs together until they are light and fluffy. Beat in the port and nut-meg. Gradually pour the cream and caramel mixture on to the egg mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.

Pour the mixture through a fine wire strainer into the prepared mould. Cover the mould with aluminium foil and place the mould in a roasting tin. Pour in enough hot water to half-fill the tin. Place the tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the custard has set.

Remove the tin from the oven and lift the mould out of the tin. Remove and discard the foil. Set the custard aside to cool in the mould and then place the mould in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.

Remove the mould from the refriger-ator. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the mould to loosen the sides. Quickly dip the bottom of the mould in boiling water. Place a chilled serving plate, inverted, over the top of the mould and reverse the two, giving the mould a sharp shake. The custard should slide out easily.

Serve at once.

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