Tag Archives: milk

Vanilla White Chocolate Pudding

31 Oct

This week has been a week of baking, cookies and cakes… I havent posted for days, and I am feeling a little bit out of sorts – still adjusting to being home, seeing old friends, re-establishing ties. And the sweet week of readjustment (accompanied by 3 major bundt cakes and cookies) is about to end – tomorrow comes meetings, work and the usual immersion in daily life. Bills to pay, people to see…

So tonight, I decided, after a lovely dinner with Pingaling, to treat myself. This pudding is so luscious, so creamy and smooth, so soft and silken and unctuous, that you can spread it all over yourself and bathe in it. It is like being enveloped in love and hugs and vanilla and sugar and sweetness. Its easy to make (about 20 minutes or less in terms of actual work time) and it is amazingly adaptable – brilliant either warm or cold.

It would be a phenomenal base for a white chocolate ice cream (just cool in the fridge overnight, and pop into your ice cream maker!). It makes a brilliant accompaniment to any manner of cake, pie, pastry or crumble. It would be stunning as the filling for a deep dark chocolate cake or ginger cake (that could be iced with whipped cream!). Served with fruits (particularly berries), this is a dream. And thinned out with a little more milk or cream, its a surprising and delightful custard.

But somehow, tonight, all I wanted was a bowl of this pudding, and a few of Adi’s crisp haunting vanilla cookies. The worries and pressures of tomorrow can wait. Tonight is a good night 🙂

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk (though you can make it with low fat milk, it loses a bit in the richness – and of course you could add some cream but that is going just a tad overboard!)
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped and/or 1 tbsp (or to taste) vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Pinch of salt (I use Maldon or fleur de sel because I love the sudden pops of salty in all that sugary smoothness)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup (a few good ounces) white chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter

Pour the milk into a medium saucepan, and split the vanilla pod. Scrape the beans into the milk, and pop the pod in there too.

Heat the milk over your lowest heat, until it just starts to steam and bubble around the edges. This might take a while, so be patient, and busy yourself with other things while it is happening.

Once the milk is just at the point of boiling, take off heat, and cover for 5 minutes to let the vanilla bean steep. If you are not using vanilla bean, allow the milk to cool down for about five minutes while you prepare the eggs.

Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and add the egg yolks. Set the whites aside for another use. Add the salt and sugar, and begin to whisk. Let me just take a moment and state that I use light brown sugar in this recipe because I adore the slight caramel tones that the light brown brings to the flavour profile. However, if you prefer a very pristine pale pudding, without the caramel-y notes, feel free to use white caster sugar.

Whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved into the eggs.

Once the milk has cooled for 5 minutes or so, fish out the vanilla pod (if using), and whisk in the white chocolate. Whisk well to ensure that all the chocolate is completely melted (it should do this relatively quickly). Add a tablespoon or so of vanilla essence at this point and taste. You should have very strong vanilla and white chocolate notes. They should complement each other, but also be distinct. Adjust if you like.

Whisk about a third of the hot milk into the eggs, and continually whisking, add the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan.

Put the pudding over very low heat and whisk constantly until it begins to thicken and steam and tiny bubbles begin to pop onto the surface. Whisk in the butter.

You need to keep your nerve here. Too long, and you get sweet, expensive, useless scrambled eggs. Too soon, and it doesnt thicken enough. Do remember though, that pudding does thicken substantially as it cools down. Its a balancing act, but I rather take off too soon than too late! You can always give it a little more heat if it does not set up as you would like it to.

Hopefully, you will have rinsed the bowl you whisked the eggs and sugar in. Place a sieve over this bowl, and pour the pudding through, to ensure a beautiful smoothness.

You now have a difficult choice. You could eat some pudding immediately (who am I kidding, I always do! Cook’s treat) … or place greaseproof paper over the surface of the pudding and refrigerate for about 2 hours or so until it has cooled and thickened completely.

Enjoy in a myriad of ways… and be comforted 🙂

Potato, Sweet Potato and Beet Gratin

7 Aug

potato, sweet potato and beet gratinTonight, I was lazy. I wanted to spend the entire evening in bed, watching videos, but of course, I needed to cook! I have made a promise to myself to post one recipe or musing every day, and so I wandered into the kitchen to be inspired. I had beets, potatoes and sweet potatoes sitting on the counter waiting for a rosti which I want to make for Ezril. I had loads of little baking paper packages of cheese bits, all wrapped up, and needing to be used. And I had some cream and milk and garlic. Okay then, instead of a rosti, which would take lots of work over the stove, I decided on a gratin. And a gratin with beets! I needed to think this through before jumping in.

I think sometimes that cooking is about inspiration, but equally, it is about preparation. Even if you dont have a clear recipe, and want to be inspired by your ingredients, always, always take five minutes to think about how you are going to put everything together.  If you dont, even in your head, have a clear work progress plan, you will definitely forget something or an important step. Trust me! Ive done it before, with disastrous results!

Beets are gorgeous creatures, but they have one flaw (or wonderful attribute depending on your way of looking at things) – they make everything they touch turn pink! I wanted to incorporate beets into this gratin because I thought they would add an earthy unique flavour, highlighting the creaminess of the potatoes and the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. A good counterbalance. But I really needed to sit and think for a while about how I was going to keep them separate but together. So I decided to prep them all the same way, but in different bowls, and layer them instead of mix them all up. The milk/cream would bind them all together, and the cheese would act as a barrier between the beets and potatoes so they wouldnt completely bleed into each other.

I think this gratin turned out gorgeously. The garlic scented the milk, but you can still taste each individual ingredient. I love love love crusty burnt bits of cheese on anything, and this gratin gave me acres of it. And silky, creamy, rich potatoes. This is a wonderful side dish for a big group, or you can cut down on the amounts, and bake a small pan for just two. Its fantastic the next day, served for breakfast, cold, or sliced and slightly fried, with an egg. Its also great, served with a very tart (arugula) salad for lunch. Its comfort food, from the heart, without a huge amount of effort. Love it!

For a large gratin dish or casserole, you will need:

  • About 3 – 4 cups potatoes
  • 1 – 2 cup sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup beets
  • Boiling water
  • 3 + 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 – 3 tbsp butter (optional – I only use butter if I am not using cream)
  • 2 – 3 cups milk and/or cream (I used a mixture)

The preparation is all important in this recipe. You will need to keep your beets and potato mixture separate until you are ready to bake.

Peel and thinly slice your potatoes and sweet potatoes, and immerse them in cold water in a bowl. Peel and thinly slice your beets, and immerse them in cold water in a bowl. Allow the potatoes and beets to sit for at least 10 minutes. This will encourage some of the starch to come out.

Boil some water, drain the cold water from your potatoes, put them back in the bowl, and slice 3 cloves of garlic over. Cover the potatoes completely with boiling water.  Do the same for your beets, slicing 2 cloves of garlic over. Leave in the boiling water for 15 minutes or so. They will not cook, but they will get a little bit softer. This is what you want.

Meanwhile, grate about 2 – 3 cups of cheese. I used a mix of cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella and pecorino. This was what I had in left over bits in the fridge, and what was available. Swiss cheese, like Gruyere, is more traditional, but I like the process of using up left over bits and pieces.

Drain the potatoes and beets and place back in their individual bowls.

Preheat your oven to 180C

Lightly butter a large baking dish. I use my high casserole dish, because I like layers in my gratin!

Layer a thin layer of beets, salt and pepper them, dot with a bit of butter if you are using, and cover with some cheese. Layer some potatoes, salt and pepper them, and cover with cheese. Continue like this until you have used up all your ingredients. I usually end up with 4 – 6 layers, always trying to end with potatoes. Add a final layering of cheese over the top.

Pour in about 2 cups milk/cream mixture until 2/3rd of the way up to the top layer of cheese. It will vary depending on your dish. Push everything down a bit into the cream. Bake in the oven for at least an 1 hour, possibly up to 2, checking every now and then that you dont need extra milk/cream (you really shouldnt, but add more if you think it needs it). Check to see if the gratin is done by forking a bit of potato – it should be tender, and break under very little pressure.

Take out of the oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

White Chocolate Semolina Pudding with Damson Jam

4 Aug

White Chocolate Semolina Pudding with Damson Jam and a touch of CreamThis is not your school days semolina pudding. I promise. No lumps or bumps or tasteless paste. This is semolina pudding for sensualists. This pudding is smooth, moist, golden, scented with vanilla, creamy with white chocolate. Sexy and yet comforting at the same time – yes its possible. Just think of the scent and feel of your favourite partner’s worn t-shirt enveloping you, and you will know what I mean… Or not! You might just have to take my word for it!

Its a doddle to make – and I needed something simple, yet decadent, because I came home from an almost six hour shopping spree with ZaZa and my feet hurt! I am expecting people for dessert tonight, and I was thinking of making a cake, or cookies, but this is so much easier. And it can all be made in one pot if you are super lazy (though transferring the cooked semolina into a nice looking baking dish is pretty simple too), and tastes like you slaved over the stove for hours. I love that kind of cooking.

This does not require a huge amount of technical cooking, chopping, slicing, dicing or sauteeing. Its a little bit of waiting (for the vanilla to infuse), a little bit of stirring, some pouring (if you are putting it in a pretty baking pan) and some more waiting while it bakes golden. It does however depend on your sense of taste and balance – how much vanilla? How much white chocolate? How much, if any, sugar, to balance the chocoalte? I have to rein myself in in regards to chocolate, but if you feel like going wild, you have my blessing! Substitute dark or milk if you wish, but I think this pudding is perfect with white chocolate.

Here in Malaysia we call semolina suji or sooji and it is used for cakes, puddings, and a huge variety of Indian dishes. Its also used extensively in Italian and European cooking for pastas and breads, amongst other things. Its used as the base to make couscous, and is basically the coarse pieces of starch or endosperm (what a word!) from milling of durum flour. It is awesome.

And the jam? Well, when you have Duchy Organic damson jam, theres not much point in making your own. Its the best jam ever. Dark purple, and tasting like mystery … superb with this pudding, on a slice of dark brown bread, with a bit of cheese. Its only available in the shops on a seasonal basis (which I like very much), so when I see it, I grab at least 3 or 4 jars and hoard it with pure adoration. Use whatever jam is your personal favourite!

This will fit a large-ish baking dish, serving about 6 – 8 people, depending on greed 😛

  • 4 cups milk (or a mix of milk and cream – or for the lactose intolerant out there, almond or oat milk, or even coconut milk)
  • 1 vanilla pod (or up to 2 tsp vanilla essence, added later)
  • 1 scant cup semolina
  • 1 cup white chocolate, chopped plus addition 1/4 cup optional
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar (or to taste – optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 – 2 tbsp butter
  • Jam and a bit of cream to serve

Pour 4 cups of milk into a medium saucepan. If you are using a vanilla pod, slice it in half lengthways, scrape the vanilla seeds into the milk, and drop in the pod as well. Bring the milk almost to a boil (when you see little plip plops of milk at the surface, take it off), stirring with a whisk all the while, and take off the heat. Leave, covered, for about 15 minutes, to allow the vanilla to infuse the milk. If you are using vanilla essence, leave for a few minutes to cool down, and go on to the next step.

Preheat your oven to 180 C and butter a large-ish baking dish (I use two small pretty white ceramic dishes because thats what I have!).

After 15 minutes, uncover the milk, and slowly whisk in the semolina. Whisking in the semolina off heat, in warm instead of boiling milk, ensures that the finished product is smooth like silk. Put the saucepan over medium heat, and allow the mixture to come to the boil, whisking all the while. As you bring the semolina milk mixture to the boil, it will start to thicken. It will eventually get quite stiff. It is boiling when the semolina starts to bubble at the surface. Make sure you whisk the entire time to ensure that it does not burn, and stays smooth.

Off heat, fish out the vanilla pods, and add the white chocolate. I usually add about 1 cup of white chocolate, and then taste. Chocolate varies so much in quality and sugar levels, that sometimes you may need the addition of a tablespoon (or even two) of light brown sugar. Most of the time, if you are using good chocolate, you dont really need it. I leave it to your (sweet) palate to decide. Remember though, that if you decide to serve it with jam, it will have a very sweet addition, and so needs to be mildly sweet, rather than overly sweet. You can kill this pudding with too much sugar!

If you did not use a vanilla pod, add your vanilla essence now, to taste.

Switch to a spatula, and beat in the eggs, and the butter. These two ingredients act as softeners and thickeners as the pudding bakes.

If you are feeling very decadent, and are a chocolate fiend, feel free to sprinkle extra chocolate over the pudding just before it goes in the oven (that would be me!). It might be nice to have a white chocolate semolina pudding, and sprinkle over with shards of bittersweet chocolate. Though I would then serve a seville orange marmalade with the pudding rather than damson jam. You could also, if your heart so desires, sprinkle some nutmeg or cinnamon over, though for me, these tastes are too much for the delicacy of this pudding.

Baked Pudding Cooling Down with dots of White ChocolateBake in the oven for about 30 – 35 minutes until the top is golden, and the pudding is slightly puffed. Take out of the oven, and allow to cool at least 10 – 15 minutes before serving. You could leave the pudding in a switched off warm oven while having dinner if you like…

Serve with some jam and may be some extra cream on the side for those who want it (and I dont know anyone who wouldnt!)

Rice Pudding

23 Jul

with a raspberry curd rippleRice pudding. At its best, its a quietly satisfying indulgence, clean, smooth, delicious. There are so many different ways to make rice pudding, and I probably have tried them all. Its one of the things I make when friends are feeling poorly, or when I am cooking for someone who is very ill and needs to get their weight and stamina up. Rice is food of the Goddesses. If, like me, you have that Asian gene in you, life is incomplete without rice almost every day. I crave rice when I havent had it in a while, and I eat it every which way. I love all the different kinds of rice – black, red, brown, arborio, jasmine, basmati… Pulut, nasi lemak, risotto, fried rice, buttered rice, plain rice with a touch of sambal and some soy sauce, rice with a fried egg on top, dripping golden yellow yolk into the pristine whiteness. I can eat rice in a myriad of ways, and one of the things I love about it is its just so good for you.

Rice pudding is a very friendly food. You dont have to make it fancy for it to be received with great pleasure and its incredibly easy for invalids to consume. And, if you want to dress it up and put on dancing shoes, it can take a dollop of raspberry curd, as in the photo, or some shavings of chocolate, or even be bulked up with smooth pumpkin – and suddenly, a new and delicious dish. Oh, rice pudding, how I love you, let me count the ways…

I know there are people who like to bake their rice pudding, but Im not too hot on the skin that develops. But then, in life, there are skin people and no skin people, so figure out who you are. I like a smooth, satiny white rice pudding. You can only achieve this by cooking very slowly over the stovetop, at an incredibly low heat. It takes 45 minutes – 1 hour, but most of that time, you just leave it alone. If you are cooking for someone who is ill, or who is struggling to get enough nutrients, you can beat in a few eggs right at the end to enrich the pudding. You could also add more cream, some yogurt, use all full-fat milk. You get the idea – bulk it up with fats and nutrients which will go relatively unnoticed in the consumption of the dish. A little sprinkle of nutmeg, or cinnamon, or both, also add depth of flavour.

I have to admit though, I am a purist. Rice, milk and a bit of cream, vanilla, sugar, and sometimes a touch of butter at the end. Eaten warm or cold, this is one of my favourite comfort dishes. Its like a pillow of softness, the rice melding in and flavouring the milk, and vice versa. Happy happy belly.

For about  3 cups of rice pudding (enough to serve 6 people or 4 very greedy ones), you will need:

  • 1 cup rice (any one you want, though note that brown, black, red rices do tend to take longer to cook because they are more natural. I borrowed a cup of rice from MamaLila, my upstairs neighbour, not sure but I think it was basmati she gave me, and it was goooood)
  • 5 cups of milk, divided into 4 cups + 1 cup – you can use any kind of milk you like. Try coconut, almond or soy milk. I try and use a mix of 2% and lowfat, and a dollop of cream. I have also been successful in adding buttermilk and sour cream, in small amounts to the mix. Try and get some whole or half and half in if you are cooking for someone who needs the extra fats and nutrients. All skim milk is not really that successful to be honest.
  • 1 vanilla pod, split, with the seeds scraped out, or 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 tbsp (or to taste) light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp (or more) butter

In a medium saucepan, over extremely low heat, combine rice, 4 cups of milk, vanilla pod and beans (or vanilla essence), and 3 tbsp light brown sugar. Give it all a stir and leave it there for 45 minutes or so, stirring every 15 minutes to ensure that the rice doesnt stick to the bottom of the pan. You want this to cook at a very very low simmer – no boiling, but more like tiny little bubbles plopping to the surface. The rice will plump up and absorb the milk, but this process will seem as if it is never going to truly happen – it will, and it is, just trust the rice.

After about 45 minutes, you should have rice thats almost al dente. Use your instincts. I usually put in all of the final cup of milk, because I dont mind rice pudding that is quite soft, but if you think it doesnt need it all, use half or less. Taste for sweetness, and add more sugar if you think it needs it. Continue cooking at a very slow simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes until almost all the milk is absorbed. Dont take it off when its too dry – as it cools, the milk, which is now full of the starch of the rice, will become much thicker and richer.

Stir in a teaspoon or so of butter, if you like (if you are vegan, obviously, leave this out!), and let cool. You can serve it warm or cold from the fridge (which is the way I like it), snowy and soft and comforting. Add a dollop of curd or jam for colour and flavour if you like, or go purist and enjoy it in all its pristine beauty.

And enjoy how much those you love, love this!

Rice pudding!

Vegetarian Panna Cotta

9 Jul

I have always loved panna cotta. The milky, trembling, perfectly set dessert just does it for me. May be because its so simple – the essence of milk. Scented lightly with vanilla, not too sweet, creamy and yet light, its a wonderful dessert. You can add all sorts of things – a chocolate sauce, a drizzle of strawberry jelly, fruits – to the pana cotta itself, or on the side, and you will get a different taste. A light espresso sauce comes to mind. Anyway, the whole point is, panna cotta is a simple and delicious thing – but I was unpleasantly surprised when I found out how it was made: milk, sugar, vanilla and gelatin. Now, vegetarians cannot eat gelatin because its made up basically of hooves, bones and cartilage of animals from the slaughterhouse boiled down. I will consume animal by products like eggs and milk, but not by products from animals that have been slaughtered. So I have foregone my panna cotta, and moved on to other delights.

Until a few months ago, when I used agar agar to stiffen and hold whipped cream. Hmmmm. I wondered if the same could be applied to the creation of panna cotta. Well, yes, but. Yes it can, agar agar is an excellent gelling agent. And yes, its relatively easy. But, you really have to follow instructions. I know this by trial and error. For almost each cup of milk or cream that you use, you need a little less than 1 tsp powdered agar agar. The agar agar must be given sufficient time, in a variety of circumstances, to melt and incorporate into the cream. If it doesnt, you get a yucky, grainy, unset mess. I know. It happened to me!

I did save it though, and now have six pretty glasses of panna cotta settling peacefully in my fridge. This dessert is easy to make as long as you accept there will be a long period of calm reflective slow cooking, and a few moments of utter chaos. Best prepare for the chaos at the beginning and set everything up so that at least it is controlled. If you do, you will have a guilt free (well relatively) panna cotta that really delights.

For 6 ramekins or glasses you will need:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or additional milk if you dont have or dont want to use the buttermilk)
  • 3 3/4 tsp agar agar
  • 3 cups cream or half and half (I used 1 1/2 c cream and 1 1/2 c whole milk)
  • 6 – 8 tbsp sugar (preferably caster)
  • 1 vanilla bean split in half  or 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • At least 2 cups ice

First off the prep. Set up your six glasses or ramekins on a clean tray or baking sheet and set aside. Have a large mixing bowl (that will fit your saucepan comfortably) at the ready, along with ice in the freezer, a large pouring jug, and a sieve.

In a medium saucepan, pour the 1 cup milk + 1/2 cup buttermilk and sprinkled the agar agar on top. Mix well and leave for at least 5 – 10 minutes to soften and incorporate. I use buttermilk in this recipe because I love the subtle tang it gives the finished product – it enhances the taste of milk, without intruding. However, if you just like milk, just use milk!

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, pour the cream / half and half and sprinkle over the sugar, and mix in the vanilla extract, or scrape out the vanilla bean, and pop its contents, and it, in. Leave to get acquainted.

After about ten minutes or so, go back to the saucepan, and on low heat, bring to the simmer, stirring all the while. What you will want to see is the mixture slowly getting thicker, and the agar agar melting. You want to bring this just-almost-not-quite to the boil. A few bubbles coming lazy to the surface and you know youre just  a tad too hot. You want to do this slow and gentle.

Hold the milk at a simmer, stirring slowly all the while for 3 – 5 minutes, and then add half of the cream mixture. Continue stirring and repeat bringing the milk-cream mixture just to the boil, and keeping it at a high simmer for a few minutes. Finally, add the rest of the cream mixture and repeat. This entire process should take you between 10 – 15 minutes. Your main aim here is a smooth creamy mixture. You want to ensure that the agar agar is completely melted into the milk and cream, and it can only do so if you bring it just to the boiling point. Enjoy this time, because all hell will break loose soon!

Agar agar gells without the need for refrigeration, so as soon as you take it off the heat, it will start to stiffen up. You now need to work extremely quickly. Put ice into the large bowl with water, and set the saucepan atop. Mix to cool down for only a few minutes – you still want to work with a warm/hot mixture, otherwise it will start gelling! Place sieve over your pouring jug, and pour all the cream through, pressing down on the solids, and discarding. Pour the cream straight into your ramekins or pretty glasses. You will see the drips and drops starting to gel so work quickly but evenly. Cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.

A note on the agar agar: I have read that agar agar to liquid should be a 1 tsp to 1 cup ratio. I have tried this, and it comes out a very very stiff jelly. My aim for the panna cotta was a slightly wobbling, smooth, silky dessert. I have therefore come up with a ratio of 4 1/2 cups liquid to 3 3/4 tsp agar agar. This is an important measurement. Please make sure you measure everything carefully. If your agar agar does not set, or sets too hard, you can always melt everything down again, reheat and go through the same process. If it is set too hard, add at least 1/2 cup of milk and 1 tsp or more of sugar. If it has not set enough, add 1/4 tsp of agar agar.

Good luck!

Dulce de leche

2 Jul

This is so simple, I feel silly posting it as a recipe. I have always loved this stuff. Sweetened condensed milk cooked for so long that it becomes a rich dark toffee caramel. Its the base for banoffee pie, and to banish sweet cravings, there is nothing better than a teaspoonful.

Most people recommend boiling cans of unopened sweetened condensed milk over the stovetop for 3  hours or so. This is the easiest way to create dulce de leche BUT its also very dangerous. When I was about 13, I was overnighting at an Aunts house in St Johns Wood in London. I was flying out the next day, and she was not there. I was craving something sweet, so decided to make dulce de leche the traditional way. I put my cans of unopened condensed milk in a deep saucepan, and covered with water. And then I proceeded to fall asleep on the couch! I woke up to a HUGE bang and could not, for the life of me, figure out what had happened, until I walked into my Aunts gorgeous gourmet kitchen to find caramel dripping from the ceiling, and every available surface. It took me HOURS to clean up (and I dont think I got everything because a few weeks later, had a very uncomfortable conversation with her!).

Ever since then, I have been a tad nervous about making this. You can pop steam vents into the top of the cans, so that they dont explode, but you still have to check for water every fifteen minutes or so. I prefer this way. Safer, and you can leave it for up to an hour at a time.

Unfortunately, here in Malaysia, we only have sweetened condensed filled milk – which has palm oil as a stabiliser and additive. This method still works, but the preference is obviously for sweetened condensed milk which is just milk and sugar.

You will need one deep roasting pan, filled about 1/3 with cold water, and one smaller roasting pan which can fit inside the deeper one.

Preheat your oven to 170 F.

Place the deep roasting pan into the oven to heat gently.

Pour up to 3 cans of sweetened condensed milk into the second roasting pan, and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Place this second pan into the first and leave in the oven for up to 3 hours. I would certainly check every hour or so to make sure the water is still there, and to mix the slowly caramelising milk well.

Be careful when you open the oven. A lot of steam gets generated from the water bath, and everything is really really hot.

After about three hours, when you take it out of the oven, dont worry. It will look curdled and lumpy. Some bits will be dark caramel brown, some bits will be lighter and smoother, and some bits will look like milk curds. Just pour and scrape into a clean bowl, and beat with a wire whisk until smooth. Let cool before even thinking of tasting it!

You can flavour this with some vanilla if you like. Unspeakably delicious.