Delicate pots of vanilla cream bound by fresh eggs make for a simple and light end to a meal. They're not much more than a spoonful or two each, and they leave you wanting just a little more. In summer, we serve these with a bowl of ripe and sweet English strawberries.
500ml/17fl oz double cream
200ml/7fl oz whole milk
160g/5 oz caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthwise
6 large eggs, yolks only
Combine the cream and milk and five tablespoons of the sugar in a large saucepan. Scrape the beans from the vanilla pod and add along with the pod. Simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Remove from the heat, cover and let sit to infuse for an hour, then reheat the cream mixture until just warm. Whisk the yolks with the remaining sugar in a large bowl until just combined, then pour over the warm milk and strain. Pour into a jug and allow to cool to room temperature.
To cook, pour the custard into eight little pots or ramekins and place in a deep-sided baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper, leaving space between each pot. Place the baking tray on a baking sheet – this will provide double insulation and help the custards set evenly. Cover each pot with clingfilm.
Add enough water to the tray to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 45 minutes. To test whether they are ready, remove a ramekin from the oven and shake it gently – the custard should be slightly wobbly.
Remove the ramekins from the bain-marie and set on a cooling rack. Allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator for at least four hours before serving. They will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days.