Festive Recipes
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Gentleman’s Dessert

This recipe comes courtesy of my mother. In Germany it is commonly known as “Herrencreme” – and is associated with Westphalia, or so I gather. It is typically served on festive occasions – be it a christening or Christmas. A simple, quick recipe that is bound to impress.


1 lt. milk.

1 vanilla pod or vanilla essence.

2 whole eggs.

2 egg yokes.

80 gr. sugar or 100 ml dark maple syrup.

3 tsp. arrow root or corn flour

200 ml whipping cream.

2 tbs. rum or cognac or whiskey.

100 gr grated chocolate.



For my desert I used Stroh Rum and organic Verde Balam Vanilla Beans from Mexico. I was given these vanilla pods from my good friend Karla whose cousin runs a vanilla farm in Mexico. This, btw, in not a paid endorsement but Verde Balam is a local, organic farmer from Mexico trying to establish good practice and traditional methods – so I highly recommend his produce.

Whisk the sugar, eggs and flour together. If you are using essence of vanilla add it as well. Set to one side

Pour the milk and vanilla pod into a saucepan. Heat-up on a medium heat making sure not to boil the milk. When the milk is steaming remove from the heat and remove the vanilla pod. Cut the vanilla pod down the centre and scrape out the seeds and stir them back into the milk. Rinse the pod under cold water, dry and put inside a sugar jar to get a wonderful, aromatic vanilla sugar.

Gradually pour the egg, sugar and arrow root mixture into the heated milk whisking continuously. Add the rum and return the custard to a low heat. The heat must not be so hot that the egg will begin to curdle – nor so low that the flour won’t bind. After about 10-15 minutes the custard will begin to thicken.

Once the sauce has thickened sufficiently remove the custard from the heat and leave it to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally so that a thick skin does not form on the top.

While the sauce is cooling whisk the cream until stiff and grate the chocolate.

When the custard is no longer so hot that it will melt the chocolate stir the whipped cream and chocolate into the custard. Pour the mixture into individual glasses or into a glass bowl. Sprinkle chocolate over the top for decoration.

Merry Christmas!


As an aside … the first time I made this I followed the classic crême anglaise recipe using only egg yokes for the custard. It made a wonderful sauce but it did not set. I also added the chocolate and cream before the custard has cooled sufficiently – turning the final dish more into a vanilla-chocolate rum drink. Delicious but unsuitable as a desert! For this reason I suggest adding some arrow-root to bind the custard. My initial, liquid batch I poured into a tuperware box and put it in the freezer where it made an excellent ice-cream.

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