Vanilla Bean Custard Samplers
Serve this homemade vanilla custard in small glasses for the perfect mini treat on a dessert buffet.
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How to make
Place half & half in 2-quart heavy saucepan. Split vanilla beans lengthwise with sharp knife; add to half & half. Cook over low heat 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat; cool 30 minutes. Remove vanilla beans from half & half. Using the back side of table knife, scrape seeds from pods. Place seeds into half & half. Discard pods.
Combine sugar and cornstarch in another 2-quart heavy saucepan; mix well. Gradually whisk in half & half mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 7-9 minutes or until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat.
Place egg yolks in bowl; stir half of hot custard mixture into egg yolks. Stir egg yolk mixture back into remaining custard mixture in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping sides and bottom of pan, 1-2 minutes or just until mixture boils. Do not overcook.
Spoon custard into 8 small glasses or serving dishes. Top each with berries or shaved chocolate, if desired. Sprinkle with raw sugar, if desired. Cover; refrigerate 2 hours until chilled.
Making custard can be challenging. The reason half of the hot custard mixture is stirred into the egg yolks is to prevent the yolks from cooking too quickly. Take your time, be sure not to rush the process by turning the heat up. Stir constantly and use a heavy saucepan.
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