Parmesan custard with anchovy toasts

Rowley Leigh, the chef proprietor of Le Café Anglais, makes a delicious baked starter
Parmesan custard with anchovy toasts
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes plus cooling
  • Effort: easy


  • 300 ml single cream
  • 300 ml milk
  • 100 g finely grated parmesan
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 12 tinned anchovies
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 8 very thin slices pain de champagne or crisp toast

Tips and Suggestions

In the absence of a sandwich machine or sandwich maker, a thin piece of crisp toast spread with the anchovy paste will work just as well. The custards can be made well ahead of time, cooled and then reheated in an oven or steamer before being finished off under the grill.


1. Mix the cream, milk and all but a tablespoon of the parmesan cheese in a bowl and warm it gently over a pan of boiling water until the cheese has fully melted. Allow to cool completely before whisking in the egg yolks, salt, finely milled white pepper and a little cayenne pepper.

2. Preheat oven to 150C/gas 2. Lightly butter 8 china moulds of 80ml capacity and share the mixture between them. Place the moulds in a roasting tin filled to 3cm deep with boiling water, cover with buttered paper and bake for 15 minutes or until the mixture has just set.

3. Mash the anchovies and butter to a smooth paste and spread over four of the slices of bread. Cover with the remaining bread and toast in a sandwich maker or Panini machine.

4. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the warm custard moulds and brown gently under a hot grill. Cut the toasted anchovy sandwiches into little fingers and serve alongside the custards.

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