These creamy baked custards, flavoured with vanilla and accompanied by a cherry compote, are sure to be popular with all ages. Take care not to overcook the custards – they should be just set when you take them out of the oven.
600 ml low-fat milk
1/2 vanilla pod, slit open lengthways
2 egg yolks
40 g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornflour
30 g raw sugar
450 g cherries, stoned
2 teaspoons arrowroot
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Place the milk and vanilla pod in a medium saucepan and heat until almost boiling. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside to infuse for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Place the whole eggs, egg yolks, caster sugar and cornflour in a bowl and lightly whisk together.
Bring the milk back to boiling point, then remove the vanilla pod and pour the hot milk over the egg mixture, whisking all the time. Strain the mixture into a jug, then divide among 6 lightly greased 120 ml ramekins.
Set the ramekins in a baking tin and pour enough hot water into the tin to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until lightly set – the custards should still be slightly wobbly. Lift them out of the hot water and place on a wire rack to cool. Once cold, chill until ready to serve.
To make the compote, place the raw sugar and 1/3 cup water in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and add the cherries. Cover and simmer gently for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lift out the cherries with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl.
Mix the arrowroot with 1 tablespoon cold water. Stir into the cherry juices in the saucepan and simmer for 1 minute, stirring, until thickened and clear. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then pour over the cherries.
Spoon a little of the cherry compote over the top of each custard pot, and serve the rest of the compote in the bowl.
The cherry compote can be used warm, or you can wait until it is at room temperature before spooning it over the custards and serving.