Viennese Fruit Custard

A delicious dessert, Viennese Fruit Custard looks superb and is ideal to serve at a dinner party with freshly whipped cream.

6 SERVINGS CARAMEL

4 oz. sugar

2 fl. oz. plus

1 tablespoon water

CUSTARD

1 pint milk

3½ oz. sugar

½ vanilla pod or

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 whole eggs plus

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons chopped mixed candied fruit

DECORATION

1 orange, peeled, sliced, poached in a sugar syrup and cooled

To make the caramel, in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan, heat the sugar and the water over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely. Increase the heat to high and allow the syrup to come to the boil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until it turns a nut-brown colour.

Be careful not to overcook the syrup or it will darken too much and become bitter. Immediately the syrup has reached the right colour, remove the pan from the heat and pour the syrup into a 1-pint decorative ovenproof mould.

In a heavy, medium-sized saucepan, bring the milk and sugar to the boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. When the sugar has dissolved, add the vanilla pod. Cover the pan, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to warm 325 °F (Gas Mark 3, 170°C).

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, using a wire whisk or rotary beater, beat the eggs and the egg yolks until they thicken consists of layers of crushed zwie and become pale yellow.

Strain the milk and discard the vanilla pod.

Add the milk to the eggs, beating constantly. If you have not used the vanilla pod, stir in the vanilla essence at this point.

Pour the mixture through a fine wire strainer into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add the chopped fruit.

Pour the mixture into the prepared mould and place the mould in a deep-sided baking tin. Pour in enough boiling water to come half-way up the sides of the mould. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until the centre of the custard is firm.

Remove the tin from the oven and remove the mould from the tin. Set aside to cool completely. When the custard is cool place it in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the mould. Quickly dip the bottom of the mould in hot water. Place a serving dish over the mould and invert the two, giving the mould a sharp shake.

The custard should slide out easily. Decorate the top of the custard with the orange slices and serve immediately.

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