- Food and Cooking
Best Ever Homemade Custard Recipe
How to Make Homemade Custard
Learn how to make delicious and easy Homemade Custard! Enjoy this recipe for proper custard, made from scratch without custard powder.
It's all too easy to heat pre-made custard straight from the tin these days, or make it using custard powder, but there is nothing like the taste of proper homemade pouring custard. It really is very simple to make, and satisfying, too!
This page contains both a printable homemade custard recipe and a step-by-step custard recipe with photos, which allows you to make either vanilla or plain pouring custard, depending on your preference.
There are also some yummy ideas on what to serve with your delicious custard, too! So, if you want to serve up the best ever homemade custard to your loved ones, then read on!
Photo Credit: Mysid courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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Homemade Custard - Why Bother?
I'll tell you why - it tastes a million times better than packet custard, and is so quick and easy that it really isn't a drag to make at all, especially if you're making a pudding anyway, as you can do the prep while the pud is in the oven!
Although many people make custard with custard powder these days, it is just as simple in my opinion to make it the traditional way. Plus, when everyone is going "yum" over their bowl of custard, you get the satisfaction of knowing you made it yourself!
Are you a custard fan?
Prep Time: Less than 5 minutes
Total Time: 10-15 minutes
- 150 ml full-cream milk
- 150 ml single cream
- 1 vanilla pod or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 15 g caster sugar (super fine sugar in the US)
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 tablespoon of cornflour
- Add the milk, cream and vanilla pod or extract to a saucepan and gently heat until it starts to boil
- Whilst the milk mix is heating up, separate your eggs and beat the yolks together with the sugar and cornflour in a bowl, until smooth
- Once the milk and cream has boiled, remove the pod if you used one, and pour into the egg mixture, stirring the whole time
- Pour it all back into the saucepan (you can rinse if you like but I usually just pour it back in!) and set over the lowest heat you can, continuously stirring. Do not let it boil - if it starts to overheat then take it off the heat (keep stirring) for a few seconds and then put it back
- The custard will start to thicken fairly quickly. Test to see if it is ready by coating the back of your wooden spoon. If it is coated in a thin layer of custard (and you can run a finger down it, leaving a trail) then it is ready (see photo). If it runs straight off the spoon it is not ready.
- TIP: Read the Tips and Tricks section below for what to do if your custard starts to curdle. There is also a step by step version of the recipe with photos too!
Have you ever made Homemade Custard?
Homemade Custard Tips and Tricks
Here are my tips, hints, pros and cons of making homemade custard.
- Variations on this recipe:
* If you want the custard thicker, use 4 egg yolks instead of 3
* To make plain custard (this recipe is vanilla) just leave out the vanilla pod or extract
* For very fine pouring custard, omit the cornflour (see bullet 3 below)
* I like to use half and half milk and cream as per the recipe as it comes out to my preferred taste this way, but you can use 300ml full fat milk (and no cream - healthier) or 300ml single cream (and no milk - indulgent!) if you prefer
- The problem many people have with making proper custard is the fact that as soon as it overheats, it curdles (hence the popularity of powdered custard). Even on a low heat with constant stirring, it is easy for it to get too hot and go horribly lumpy. This recipe uses cornflour to stabilise the mixture and reduce the risk of curdling. It means the custard is of a slightly less perfect consistency than true fine pouring custard, but it tastes just as fine so what the heck?
- If you want to make absolutely perfect fine pouring custard, omit the cornflour, and keep a VERY close eye on your custard to ensure it does not overheat. Stir continuously and take off the heat each time you think it is getting too hot, still stirring the whole time.
- Whether you use cornflour or not, the custard can still curdle. But don't panic if it does! I have had mine curdle many times, usually if I am trying to take a crumble out of the oven at the same time and stop stirring (gasp!) for a few seconds. Just take it off the heat and stir vigorously, to the point of beating it with your spoon, and when it is smooth again, put it back on the heat and carry on. If the worst happens and it still ends up lumpy, don't despair - it still tastes great!
- One of the great advantages of making your own custard is that you can tweak it to your personal taste. If you like it strong you can add more vanilla. If you like it thick or runny you can adjust accordingly. If you want to make it a different flavour altogether, you can add orange or cinnamon or other variations!
- There is, alas, one downside to proper homemade custard - you can't freeze it. So, if you want to freeze your custard or make custard ice lollies, you'll need to use custard powder (or a store bought tub of the fresh stuff works nicely for custard lollies too).
Step by Step Homemade Custard with PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Don't be a Custard Pie... - Learn How to Make Custard and Other Great Food from Scratch!
This is one of my favourite home cooking recipe books and includes some delicious homemade custard recipes. Rachel includes her recipe for plain custard along with three variations - vanilla custard, orange custard and cinnamon custard. Yum!
If you want to start home cooking seriously then this is a great book to use. Not only does it have a range of everyday and extra yummy meals, but it also covers all the basics and extras like homemade custard, sauces, herb butters, mayonnaise and more. Rachel has a great writing style and her recipes are delicious (or at least, all the ones I've tried so far are!)
It also has lots of handy hints throughout, such as ideas for stocking up your larder, freezer cooking, food on the go and getting kids involved. Great for mums as it has baby purees as well as family meals.
Serve your Homemade Custard... - ...with Something Suitably Yummy!
My personal favourite accompaniment for homemade custard is a homemade fruit crumble. Here is some poured over my famous apple and blackberry crumble!
It's also great over lots of other things too, like apple pie, a fruit tart or sticky toffee pudding. Or, if you're a custard addict like my other half, who needs anything but the custard??
Proper Custard VS Powdered Custard
So, have I convinced you? Will you be trying your hand at proper homemade custard, or will you keep on making it with custard powder?
Proper Homemade Custard or Custard Powder?
More Homemade Custard Recipes
- Real Proper Homemade Custard
Delicious homemade custard from cooking expert Mary Berry
- Delia's Traditional English Homemade Custard
The ultimate creamy custard from Delia Smith
- Variations on Homemade Custard
Standard custard, quick custard, and even chocolate, orange, liqueur or toffee custard!
- Jamie Oliver's Proper English Homemade Custard
Blogger's delicious adaptation of Jamie's scrummy custard recipe
Essentials for your Homemade Custard - Lovely Things for Lovely Food!
From vanilla extract (a great alternative to vanilla pods) to essential utensils, find everything you need for homemade custard and other yummy things right here. And if you can't live without your powder, there's some Birds Custard Powder here too!
Hope you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks for reading and please leave your thoughts here!