Easy Vanilla Custard

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December 8, 2023

This classic custard is the perfect dessert to enjoy year-round. It’s silky smooth, perfectly sweet, and much easier to make than you think. Serve it up warm, drizzled over cake or a fruit crisp, or chill it and top with berries. It’s up to you!


Easy Vanilla Custard

This classic custard recipe has a special place in my home. My dad (as a New Zealander) always prefered it warm and drizzled over some sort of cake. While my mom (an American) preferred it chilled and more pudding-like. And that’s not surprising, because based on my travels I’d say that many people in the US think of custard as a pudding, while many people in the UK enjoy it served as an accompaniment to another dessert. I’ll gladly enjoy custard either way, which just highlights the versatility of this sweet treat.

So why do I love this custard recipe?

Because it’s creamy, luscious and smooth with hints of sweet vanilla. It’s also far better than any store-bought box mix, and super easy to make at home. If you’ve made my chocolate pots de creme, tapioca pudding, or coconut creme brulee, you’re already an expert on this recipe, as those desserts have custard as the base. So let’s whip it up!

For some context, there is a difference between custard and pudding. Puddings (like my banana pudding) rely on more starch to thicken up whereas custards rely on egg yolks as the primary thickening agent. This gives custard a more delicate and subtle flavor.

  1. Heavy Cream: Heavy cream is the key to creating a thick and luscious custard. If you’re dairy-free, you can use coconut cream instead.
  2. Whole Milk: Whole milk mixed with heavy cream is the ultimate duo for a rich consistency. But you could also use a creamier non-dairy milk such as canned coconut milk or oat milk.
  3. Egg Yolks: You only need egg yolks in this recipe, so save the egg whites to make an egg white omelette or souffle dessert!
  4. Honey: Any type of sugar can be used in this recipe. I prefer to use honey or maple syrup.
  5. Vanilla Extract: A splash of vanilla extract add that sweet, rich flavor. But if you have fresh vanilla beans on hand, feel free to scrape one and add it in. Just stir it into the heavy cream in the first step.
  6. Starch: You don’t need much for this custard, but a little bit helps to thicken the eggy cream mixture. You can use cornstarch, arrowroot powder, or tapioca flour.

How To Make Vanilla Custard

  • Heat the cream. Add the heavy cream and milk to a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk occasionally until it’s simmering with bubbles along the edges, then remove from the heat.

Note: Milk has a tendency to boil over quickly on the stove, so do keep a close eye on it!

Easy Vanilla Custard-02

Temper the eggs. Whisk the egg yolks, honey, starch, and vanilla in a medium bowl. While continuously whisking, slowly pour half of the hot cream mixture into the bowl. If you pour too fast, the eggs will curdle.

Stir together. Return the tempered egg mixture to the saucepan and stir together over medium-low heat for 1 to 3 minutes, or until the custard is slightly thickened. Note: the custard will continue to thicken once removed from the heat.

Serve or chill. You can serve the warm custard drizzled over desserts or chill and serve it cold. To chill, transfer the custard to a bowl and cover the top (so it’s touching the custard) with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for 4 hours or overnight.

Common Questions

What are some ways to enjoy this custard?

If you want to enjoy it warm, it’s delicious drizzled it over my flourless chocolate cake or apple crisp (coming soon). If you prefer it chilled, you can serve it up with fresh, seasonal fruit. You can also layer in a trifle or use it as the filling in a fruit tart or banana cream pie (just make sure to bake the crust before filling with custard).

Why is my custard a bit lumpy?

There’s a high chance you might have overcooked your egg mixture on the stovetop. If the mixture is cooked for too long or at too high a temperature, it can start to break and become lumpy. If that happens, immediately remove it from the heat. Then use an immersion blender to blend it smooth again. Just don’t transfer it to a high-powered blender as that’ll incorporate too much air and make the custard whipped and frothy.

Storage Tips

  • To store: Homemade custard can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, which makes it the perfect make-ahead dessert. Just give it a good stir and serve with your favorite toppings.
  • To reheat: If you’ve chilled the custard and want to serve it warm again, you certainly can. Just don’t microwave it because the eggs will curdle! Instead, warm it gently in a double boiler and add more cream or milk to thin it back down.
I hope you, your friends, and family enjoy this creamy custard recipe! If you make it, I’d love to hear how it turned out in the comment box below. Your review will help other readers in the community.

 

Easy Vanilla Custard

Easy Vanilla Custard Recipe

This homemade vanilla custard is silky, creamy, and super easy to make! ...
Servings 4 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients
  

1x

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ▢ 1 cup whole milk
  • ▢ 5 large egg yolks
  • ▢ 2 tablespoons honey
  • ▢ 2 teaspoons cornstarch arrowroot powder, or tapioca flour
  • ▢ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2x

  • 2 cup heavy cream
  • ▢ 2 cup whole milk
  • ▢ 10 large egg yolks
  • ▢ 4 tablespoons honey
  • ▢ 4 teaspoons cornstarch arrowroot powder, or tapioca flour
  • ▢ 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3x

  • 3 cup heavy cream
  • ▢ 3 cup whole milk
  • ▢ 15 large egg yolks
  • ▢ 6 tablespoons honey
  • ▢ 6 teaspoons cornstarch arrowroot powder, or tapioca flour
  • ▢ 3 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Heat the cream. Add the heavy cream and milk to a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk occasionally until it just starts to simmer with bubbles along the edges, then remove from the heat.
  • Temper the eggs. Whisk the egg yolks, honey, arrowroot powder, and vanilla in a medium bowl. While continuously whisking, very slowly pour half of the hot cream mixture into the bowl. Don't pour too fast or the eggs will curdle.
  • Stir together. Return the tempered egg mixture to the saucepan and stir together over medium-low heat for 1 to 3 minutes, or until the custard is slightly thickened. Note: the custard will continue to thicken once removed from the heat.
  • Serve. You can serve the custard warm drizzled over cake, pie or other desserts or you can chill it and serve cold. If chilling, transfer the custard to a bowl and cover the top (so that it's touching the custard) with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for 4 hours or overnight. Then, spoon individual servings in glasses to serve.

Notes

Tips

  • This serves 4 people if you serve it up as small puddings (about 4 to 5-ounces each) Or you can serve 2 people with larger portions. If serving the custard as a hot drizzle over another dessert, you’ll get about 4 to 6 servings. 
Author: Kit Food
Calories:
Course: Dessert Recipes
Cuisine: American

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