Thursday, February 7, 2013

Homemade Vanilla Custard

Last March I shared a story with you about a lovely man and his love of banana cream pie. But it occurred to me that the vanilla custard itself deserved its own post so folks can find it with a quick search. It's simple to make and you can use it in a trifle or as filling between layers in a special cake or even just eat it with a spoon. Sure you can use custard powders but they have negligible nutritional value and some odd sounding ingredients, as well as sugar. This custard, on the other hand, has fresh egg yolks, so it would helpful if you are trying to boost the protein in someone's diet. But MOST importantly, it tastes delicious!

The following amounts make a little more than 1 3/4 cups or 425ml of custard. Just so you know.

1⁄2 cup or 110g sugar
1⁄3 cup or 42g all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 1⁄4 cups or 530ml milk
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon or 15g butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In 2-quart saucepan (no heat!) mix sugar, flour and salt. Stir in milk until smooth.

Make sure you get ALL the lumps out before turning on the heat.

Over medium heat, cook mixture, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and begins to boil (about 10 minutes). Boil one minute. Remove immediately from heat and set aside.

See the tiny bubbles? It's gently boiling.

Separate your egg yolks from your whites, by gently transferring the yolk from one half of the shell to the other, putting the whites directly into a sealable plastic container for the refrigerator. (Later, you can make something lovely with these!) Put the yolks in a bowl with enough room to whisk.

Beat egg yolks quickly with a whisk, while drizzling in about a 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture. Quick beating and slow drizzling are essential so that you don’t end up with cooked eggs.

Slowly pour egg mixture into the saucepan, stirring rapidly to prevent lumping.

I know it doesn't look like I was quickly stirring but that is just because I fake poured for the camera and then really poured and stirred like crazy after. 

Occasionally, scrape the saucepan with a rubber spatula. 

Over low heat, cook, stirring constantly, until very thick (do not boil) and mixture mounds when dropped from spoon.

Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. 

Congratulations, you have made homemade vanilla custard. Once the butter has melted, pour the custard into a metal bowl. Cover its surface with plastic wrap to prevent skin forming. Refrigerate until set, about four hours. This delicious homemade custard can be used in a variety of desserts when fully set or simply eaten with a spoon when soft set, after it cools.



  1. Vanilla custard is one of my very favorite things. When I was studying abroad in Madrid, I passed a bakery on my way to/from school every day. I would often find myself wandering in and buying beautiful pastries filled with the most lovely vanilla custard. So delicious. I might have to make this and then just eat it with a spoon!

  2. It's one of mine too, Stephie! Perfect piped into pastries or topped with fresh fruit in pie crust or in a thousand other things. And eaten straight from the bowl with a spoon. :)

  3. Your lemon curd was so easy, how could I NOT make this? YUM!!! I want to make some Boston Cream doughnuts with it. Sounds great!

  4. It would be PERFECT for Boston cream doughnuts! So many things a person can make with vanilla custard. :)

  5. came over from a friend's rec, love your blog:) I hate that pple resort to storebought custard when it's not too difficult to make your own, and esp when the flavour of homemade is just out of this world! great step-by-step photos too! and it's fab to see how much the colour changes because of the yolks. ntohign like great ingredients for a great dish :)


  6. Homemade is pretty much always better than store-bought for anything. That's my motto anyway!

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  8. That custard looks really rich and luvly.


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