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.
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
- 1/4 cup sugar
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:
Wishing you all happy custard making and perfect desserts.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom