Many of my childhood memories are of the simplest pleasures in life…like this custard dessert made for us by my mum’s elder sister Thia Frosa whenever we arrived back in Cyprus for the summer holidays. Peace and quiet reigned as I would spend an age cutting the spoon sweets into shapes to artistically decorate the top.
And as a sometimes petulant child I would get quite upset if I was scooped a portion with less spoon sweets than my brothers had. As the only girl in a male dominated family, I am sure I was right thinking that life was never fair!
- 1 glass (200g) of cornflour or rice flour
- 6 glasses (1.2 litre ) of milk at room temperature
- 1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scooped out
- 6 eggs, beaten
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 glass (200g) of caster sugar
- spoon sweets, to decorate, I use candied walnuts, watermelon peel, bergamot or lemon
- Blend the cornflour with a little milk to make a smooth paste. Heat the remaining milk in a saucepan, bringing to a steady simmer. Now using a wooden spoon blend in the cornflour paste, sugar, vanilla seeds and lemon zest, stirring constantly.
- Once the custard is smooth reduce the heat. Pour a little of the hot custard onto the beaten eggs, whisking constantly until smooth, not scrambled, then whisk this back into the hot custard and continue to heat, stirring until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon. Patience is required so do not let yourself or the custard boil over!
- Pour the custard into a shallow glass flan dish and leave to cool, then chill. Just before serving, decoratively arrange your favourite assorted sliced spoon sweets over the top.
For true nursery food flavours I like to replace the vanilla with 6 tablespoons or a scant ½ glass of Father Michael’s rose water