Simple and sublime: chilled custard and sweet raspberries make a great pudding.

In essence, a small dish of unburnt crème brûlée custard topped with raspberries. I think that a deft dusting of icing sugar over the berries slightly sweetens and, further, adds a pretty finish.

Very small or sliced strawberries may also be successfully employed here, but never raw blueberries, whatever one might think—a blueberry is a fruit that demands to be cooked with sugar in a pie. Ask any good American cook.

Raspberries and custard

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2tbspn caster sugar
  • 400g raspberries
  • A little sieved icing sugar

Method
Heat the cream with the vanilla pod in a heavy-based saucepan until hot, but not boiling. Whisk thoroughly for a few seconds to disperse the seeds from the vanilla pod, cover and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, gently whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Remove the vanilla pods from the cream, shake well, lightly rinse and store in some sugar if you like, for further confections.

Pour the warm cream over the egg yolks and sugar and whisk together. Return to the pan and cook very gently over a low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon.

Everyone – well, almost everyone – tells you to cook the custard until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. I think this is misleading as the mixture almost coats the spoon from the start, resulting in an insufficiently cooked custard that won’t set. I find – and it becomes easier and less risky with practice – that one can almost allow the occasional boiling blip to form on the surface, followed by vigorous whisking to disperse them back into the less hot parts of the custard.

When you feel that the custard is ready, decant into generous-sized, individual ramekins – or small glass dishes, as shown here – and chill well for at least four hours. Note: the mixture shouldn’t be much higher than two-thirds up the sides of whichever container you’re using, to leave room for the raspberries.

Once thoroughly chilled, carefully pile the raspberries on top and dust with icing sugar. Serve at once, with joy.