I love how egg custard smothers a pudding in warm, creamy lusciousness. Traditional English egg custard sauce is the perfect accompaniment for so many of my favorite desserts, I thought it was high time I share my recipe.
Bread pudding, plum pudding, apple crumble, Eve’s Pudding, Queen of Puddings all taste best with custard, and Irish sherry trifle just would not be the same without a custard layer.
Bird’s custard powder is a quick and easy solution for any custard lover, but nothing compares to the flavor of real, homemade custard.
Ingredients for Egg Custard:
Here you’ll find a quick list of what you’ll need for this recipe. Check out the printable recipe at the bottom of this post for US and Metric equivalent versions of the recipe. There you can choose the measurement system that works best for you.
- whipping cream
- whole milk
- pure vanilla extract
- egg yolks
- corn starch
Directions for Egg Custard:
The ingredients are pretty simple. Lump free, smooth custard is totally dependent upon technique.
First pour the whipping cream into a saucepan.
Next add the milk. Heat the cream and milk over very gentle heat, bringing it just to simmering point, when a few tiny bubbles start to appear at the edge of the saucepan. Do not boil the cream, so watch it carefully, and use low heat.
If you don’t want to use heavy whipping cream, you can use all whole milk instead, but the consistency of the custard will be slightly thinner. Reduced fat milks don’t work very well, because let’s face it, you just need some of that old fat to make custard thicken.
Even though I just told you to pay close attention to the cream as it heats, I am now going to distract you by preparing the eggs. If the cream is on low heat there should be plenty time for the next few steps, before it reaches simmering point.
I like to let my eggs come to room temperature before I make custard, so I take them out of the fridge an hour before I start cooking. If they are too cold, there is an increased chance they might curdle when the get hit by hot cream very shortly.
First, break the eggs and separate the yolks from the egg whites. Put the four yolks in a bowl. The egg whites can be used for another recipe, an egg-white omelette, or a pavlova is my favorite. I’ll share that recipe on another day.
Next comes the vanilla. I like to use pure vanilla extract not vanilla essence. The flavor of the real thing is much nicer.
Toss in the corn starch. If you use all whole milk instead of cream, you may need to increase the cornstarch to 2 teaspoons to achieve the desired consistency in your custard sauce.
Toss in the sugar.
Whisk the egg yolk mixture together, making sure there are no corn starch clumps.
Take the saucepan of simmering cream and pour it into the egg yolks, whisking all the time. Whisk! Whisk! Whisk! The only way to achieve smooth, creamy custard is to whisk vigorously. I mean put some muscle into it.
Next return the custard to the saucepan.
Return to a gentle heat, and once again, build those arms and whisk it. Whisk the custard continually as it slowly returns to a simmering point. The sauce will thicken just before it reaches boiling point, and once again don’t let it boil. The flavor becomes too intense if custard bubbles and boils. It gets lumpy too if it overheats.
So the key to custard is – WHISKING LIKE CRAZY.
Once the custard has returned to simmering point, transfer it into a serving dish or just pour it straight over a favorite dessert.
Custard can be stored covered in a refrigerator, then reheated using a double broiler over a saucepan of water. Once again, reheat over gentle heat, to avoid burning the sauce.
Here is the printable version of the recipe:
Homemade Egg Custard Sauce
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1½ teaspoons corn starch
- ¼ cup sugar
- In a large saucepan heat the cream to just below simmering point. Do not let the cream boil.
- While the cream is heating whisk the eggs, vanilla, corn starch and sugar together in a medium bowl.
- Continue whisking the egg mixture with one hand, while gradually pouring the hot cream into the bowl. Whisk continually to prevent lumps.
- Return the custard to the saucepan used to heat the cream. Over very gentle heat continue to whisk the custard as it thickens, keeping it smooth with vigorous whisking. Allow to heat just to simmering point.
- Serve hot, poured over your favorite pudding. Custard can be prepared in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator. Reheat in a double broiler over simmering water, whisking as it heats.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
Custard is delicious served with a variety of Irish desserts. Here’s a list of my recipes which are perfect for serving with custard.
Wishing you all happy custard making and perfect desserts.
Thanks for following my recipes and ramblings.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
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