Start this recipe a day ahead to set the custard.
- 750 ml (3 cups) milk
- 130 gm caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
- 110 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 200 gm plain flour, sifted
- 6 egg yolks
- For deep-frying: vegetable oil
- 35 gm (1/3 cup) dried breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp vanilla powder (see note)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 100 ml ginger syrup (see note)
- 30 cm piece ginger, cut into fine julienne
- 1Line an 18cm-square cake tin with baking paper. For the custard, bring milk, sugar and vanilla bean and seeds to the boil in a small saucepan over low heat, then strain through a fine sieve and keep warm.
- 2In a separate saucepan, melt butter over low heat, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until pale and sandy-textured (2-4 minutes). Gradually whisk in hot milk and stir constantly until thickened (5-7 minutes), then whisk in egg yolks. Remove vanilla bean and pour mixture into the prepared tin and refrigerate until set (4-6 hours or overnight).
- 3Turn set custard out onto a board and cut into nine 6cm squares. Heat oil in a deep saucepan to 180C. Combine breadcrumbs with vanilla powder in a bowl and place beaten eggs in another, dip custard squares in egg then breadcrumbs, shaking off excess, and deep-fry in batches until golden and slightly crisp (2-3 minutes; be careful, hot oil may spit). Drain on paper towels and dust with extra caster sugar.
- 4Heat ginger syrup with ginger julienne in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until warm, pour over custard squares and serve hot.
Note Vanilla powder is available at select health-food stores, supermarkets and specialty stores; if it's unavailable, substitute the scraped seeds of a vanilla bean. Ginger syrup is available at select delicatessens, supermarkets and health-food stores or online through The Ginger People.