A step-by-step custard tutorial.
- 500ml milk
- 125ml sugar
- 4 extra- large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 5ml vanilla essence
- Heat the milk in a saucepan on medium to just before boiling point. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until just combined. (Don’t use an electric mixer as you don’t want to incorporate too much air into the mixture.)
- Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture from a height, whisking until combined.
3 Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook for about 20-25 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the sauce coats the back of the spoon. Mix in the vanilla essence.
4 Place a sieve in a medium bowl and set the bowl inside another larger bowl of cold water. Strain the custard into the prepared bowl to stop the cooking process.
- If it’s your first time making custard, rather start at a low temperature and cook for longer.
- Never allow custard to boil!
- To re-heat custard, put the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir occasionally until warm.
How to save a curdling custard
Place the saucepan with the custard in a bowl of ice-cold water and whisk vigorously. If this doesn’t work, blitz with a stick blender until smooth. If the custard looks like scrambled eggs, you’ll have to start over.
- Mix 100g chopped dark or white chocolate through the cooked custard and stir until melted.
- Instead of using vanilla essence, flavour the custard with the zest of 1 orange and 5ml orange blossom essence, or 30ml Amarula, brandy or espresso coffee.
- Infuse the milk when heating with 1 cinnamon stick, 4 crushed cardamom pods and 1 star anise.
Uses and serving ideas
- Custard is used as a base for ice cream, crème brûlée, crème caramel, bread pudding and eggnog.
- Custard thickened with cornflour is called crème pâtisserie. It’ is used when making fruit tartlets, stuffing éclairs, to ice cakes or as a base for sweet soufflés.
- Serve custard with malva pudding, apple pie, apple crumble or with fresh berries and cookies crumbled over.