Boiled custard is a tradition in the South, especially around the holidays. It's a light, creamy sweet dessert that's similar to eggnog, but thicker. It can be served with a dusting of nutmeg or a shot of bourbon if you are feeling festive. I also like to spoon the custard over fresh strawberries.
Pour water into the lower pot of a double boiler and bring to a simmer.
In the top part of double boiler, add the milk to heat over hot water. Keep the water in the bottom part of the boiler simmering, not boiling. You do not want to scald the milk.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat the eggs lightly.
Combine the cornstarch and sugar. Gradually add this mix to the eggs and beat well.
Pour a portion of the hot milk into the egg mixture. Stir thoroughly. This will temper the eggs so that they won't cook when you add them to the double boiler.
Pour the tempered egg mixture into the heated milk in the top of the boiler. Stir slowly until thick. It's done when you can see a trace of the spoon in the custard.
Remove the custard from heat and pour through a sieve into another container. Allow to cool.
Once cool add the vanilla.
Place the custard in the refrigerator to chill.
Whip 1/2 a pint of cream.
Right before serving fold about half of the whipped cream to the cold custard. You don't need to be exact. Reserve the rest to garnish the individual servings.
Even the most practiced hand can sometimes end up with curdled custard. If this happens to you, remove the custard from the heat and beat with an electric hand beater. Strain it through a sieve to remove any remaining lumps.
Time to prepare: 45 minutes.