Sunday, 3 July 2011

Basic recipes - custard

It's occurred to me that sometimes I should do the simple things properly, rather than worrying about the complicated things. Case in point - I want to sew a fancy dress to wear to my dad's wedding. But today I made a simple top from a "Burda Easy" pattern, did it well, and was instantly satisfied.

So for tonight's dessert (and to use up some more peaches!) I went for plain old custard. I'll show you how I made mine, and then I'll add some notes about how you could modify it.

I apologise if this recipe seems too simple, but have a think about this: I moved out of home when I was 18. At least once a week, I'd be on the phone to Mum asking how to make white sauce, or risotto, or some other basic foodstuff. If even ONE person stumbles upon this recipe and it is useful to them, then I'm glad!

Here is what I used to make enough for two people:

  • 2 big dessert spoons of unsweetened custard powder
  • 2 dessert spoons of white sugar, which I store with old vanilla pods in it
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup of milk

Oh, and peaches. Gotta use them up!

Firstly, put the dry ingredients into a little saucepan. Then, add an egg yolk and stir it in.

It will look lumpy, but that's fine.

Add in the milk, about two spoonfuls at a time. Each time you add milk, stir the mixture until the lumps are gone. Don't worry about the sugar still being gritty, we're getting to that!

When you've added in all the milk, turn your stove onto a low heat. No more than half of whatever the highest setting is. All you need to do now is stir...

After about 4-5 minutes, you'll feel the spoon start to 'catch' in the mixture as it thickens. It might separate into lumps - just stir harder! You'll smooth it out.

And that's all!! When it's uniformly thick, you can serve it right away. It goes well with peaches, hahaha! Custard is also good cold.

So, what other variations are good? I've tried the following:
  • If you don't have custard powder, you can substitute the same amount of cornflour with a little bit of vanilla essence;
  • If you don't have an egg yolk, it's not essential to use one;
  • Substitute cream for some of the milk - delicious but deadly;
  • Use cocoa powder or hot chocolate mix instead of a portion of the custard powder;
  • Try adding some instant coffee granules...
I'm sure there are plenty of other options too! Not to mention trifle... delicious.


  1. I'm impressed that you can separate an egg in the shell - I always break the yolk or throw it down the sink or something!

    I'm not really a huge fan of custard (outside of tart form, obviously) - I blame boarding school in England where it was always lumpy and runny and had skin floating on the top! I may have to make my own and reassess the situation :)

  2. Like many of my supposed 'skills', I learned to do the egg-separating thing through laziness. I don't have a special egg-separator cup, so using available equipment is easier!

    Maybe you could ease into custard... make something a bit tastier like a chocolate custard with berries, or something that has a custard filling (instead of just being plain old custard).

  3. Mmmmmmmmmmmm I love custard! Now I have to eat some :)

  4. Yeah, flavoured custard would probably be better than plain. The lemony custard from my Portuguese custard tarts would have been pretty yummy on its own I think!

    Also, custard for breakfast, Sara???

  5. I used to eat either fruit and custard or fruit and porridge for breakfast every day when I was at high school :-D

    I won't judge what other people feel like eating!!


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