Recipe and photography courtesy of Ruwanmali Samarakoon-Amunugama.
This dish is simple to prepare, yet so delicious. It has a custard like texture in the center and is filled with plump fruit (traditionally sweet cherries are used, but I like the tartness of raspberries). Sri Lankan vanilla has a deep cocoa flavor and marshmallow-like smoothness, which is perfect for this dish. Because the recipe itself is not overly sweet, feel free to indulge with the topping of icing sugar.
1 Sri Lankan vanilla bean
1 cup of half and half cream
¼ cup whole milk
½ cup of fine granulated sugar)
½ cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of raspberries (or other soft fruits like cherries, plums, peaches)
Icing sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with the back of a sharp paring knife. Drop the seeds and the pod into a small saucepan, add the half and half the cream and gently heat on the lowest flame. Stir gently to help loosen the seeds into the cream. After a few minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the milk and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and flour. Remove the vanilla bean from the cream and milk mixture (reserve the bean to use tea or coffee). Stir the cream into the egg mixture for a smooth batter.
Lightly grease your baking vessel(s). You may use a pie dish, gratin dish, or you may wish to use a couple of your favorite oven-proof baking dishes.
Place the fruits equally into the dishes and then pour the batter overtop, equally between the dishes.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden on the top. Dust with icing sugar, and serve warm.
Ruwanmali Samarakoon-Amunugama is the author of Milk, Spice and Curry Leaves. She learned to cook Sri Lankan food from her mother and grandmother. Her knowledge of South Asian foods and ingredients has been further enhanced by numerous trips to Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia.