A classic dessert, with a light texture and a mild flavor. This recipe is for "boiled" custard, but ironically, as Mrs. F.L. Gillette said in The Whitehouse Cookbook, "it must not boil or it will curdle." See more on custard in general here.
- Heat milk and salt (if using) in a double boiler until bubbles form around the edges.
- Beat eggs with sugar until uniform.
- Gradually mix approximately 1/2 cup hot milk into the egg mixture to temper it.
- Slowly stir egg mixture into remaining hot milk.
- Optionally, mix cornstarch and water and stir into custard.
- Stir over heat until thickened (should coat the spoon), without bringing to a boil.
- Remove from heat, and continue stirring to dry the custard slightly.
- Stir in vanilla before the dish has cooled completely.
- Serve warm or chilled.