Makes 2-1/2 cups custard
- Heat milk in small saucepan until hot. (Instant-read thermometer should register 170°F.) Do not boil.
- Whisk eggs in top of double boiler until well blended. Add sugar and salt; whisk until blended. Stir in hot milk.
- Fill bottom of double boiler with water to 1 inch below level of top pan. Bring water just to a boil; reduce heat to low. Place top of double boiler over hot, not boiling, water.
- Cook and stir over low heat 10 to 12 minutes until egg mixture thickens and instant-read thermometer registers about 170°F. (Mixture should coat back of spoon. Run fingertip across back of spoon; if mark remains, mixture is ready.) Do not boil. Custard will thicken as it cools.
- Immediately remove top of double boiler from heat. Stir in vanilla. For a smoother texture, strain through wire mesh sieve into medium bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Slow cooking over gentle heat is essential to prevent curdling of a stirred custard. If the water in the bottom of the double boiler begins to simmer, reduce the heat until the water no longer simmers.
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