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 under the grill, fortunately.
300 ml single cream
300 ml milk
100 grams finely grated Parmesan
4 egg yolks
Salt, pepper, cayenne
12 anchovy fillets
50 grams unsalted butter
8 very thin slices of pain de champagne
Mix the cream, milk and all but a tablespoon of the cheese in a bowl and warm gently over a pan of boiling water until the cheese has melted. Allow to cool completely before whisking in the egg yolks, salt, finely milled white pepper and a little cayenne.
Lightly butter 8 china moulds of 80 ml capacity and pour in the mixture. Place the moulds in a pan of boiling water, cover with buttered paper and bake in a low oven, 150C, for 15 minutes or until the mixture has just set.
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. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the warm custards and brown gently under a hot grill. Cut the toasted anchovy sandwiches into little fingers and serve alongside the custards.
© Rowley Leigh