Fresh Blackberries with Vanilla Custard Sauce (Dairy and Dairy-free Versions)

The local blackberries are at their peak now and especially sweet this year. With berries this good I sometimes prefer not to cook them but enjoy them instead with just a little embellishment. Years ago, when we lived in England, we were invited to a friend’s house for Sunday dinner. They made a traditional roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, lots of gravy, and potatoes, peas, and carrots. It was delicious, but my favorite part of the meal was dessert. They served a fresh cherry pie drizzled generously with homemade custard. I had never had custard on pie before, and it was divine.

I learned to make custard sauce after that dinner and now find it the perfect accompaniment to fruit pie as well as ripe berries. The custard is richest when made with a combination of cream and milk, but you can use only milk for a lighter version, or make it dairy free using almond milk. Below are both a dairy custard and a non-dairy version (the photo shows a non-dairy custard).

Fresh Blackberries with Vanilla Custard Sauce (Dairy)
5 large egg yolks
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
1 (6-inch piece) vanilla bean
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. fresh blackberries, rinsed and set on a paper towel to drain

In a saucepan combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk until mixed. Stir in cream and milk. Scrape the vanilla bean and add seeds and pod to the custard. Bring to a simmer on medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent the bottom from burning. It will take about 5-7 minutes. When the custard coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat. Strain the custard, then put the vanilla bean back in the custard. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover with plastic wrap directly on custard. Chill 1 hour. Remove the vanilla bean before serving. Place 1/2 cup berries in each of four glasses. Drizzle with custard sauce. Serves 4.

Dairy-free Custard Sauce
5 large egg yolks
1/2 c. sugar
2 c. almond milk
1 vanilla bean
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

In a saucepan combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk until mixed. Slowly whisk in the almond milk. Scrape the vanilla bean. Add seeds and pod to the custard. Warm on medium low heat. Place cornstarch in a small bowl. Add two tablespoons of milk mixture to the cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Stir cornstarch mixture into the heating custard, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil to thicken. This should take 5-7 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and strain the custard. Return the vanilla bean to the custard and add vanilla extract. Cover with plastic wrap directly on custard and chill 1 hour. Remove the vanilla bean before serving. Serves 4.

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This entry was posted in Breakfast, Custards, Dairy-free, Desserts, Fruit. Bookmark the permalink.

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