Vanilla Custard is a rich and creamy custard that is perfect as a topping, dipping sauce, or side dish for many desserts.
Total Cooking Time: 25 minutes
I don’t feel like Vanilla custard is a common dessert in the U.S. and that is a shame because it is so good. This custard is interesting because it lives between eggnog and crème brulé. It’s not as thin as an eggnog but not as thick as a custard used for crème brulé. Most of this recipe takes place over the stove and while it does require constant stirring, it is a fairly quick creation that can be used as a topping or side for many desserts. And it is the perfect complement to my Bakewell Steamed School Pudding from Week 5 of my Season 8 Bake Off Challenge.
The ingredients used in making a vanilla custard were ones that surprised me. The two largest contributors to this recipe is heavy cream and egg yolks. In this respect, it is very similar to eggnog. The only really interesting ingredient it uses is a vanilla pod which infuses the custard with that delicious vanilla flavor.
First Time Cook
One really important note about making custard is do not boil the mixture. I cooked this custard over the heat of the stove, and it must be watched very carefully. The taste and texture of the custard can change (in a bad way) if the mixtures ever get boiled. The first ingredients to be combined over the heat is the heavy cream and the vanilla extract. I wanted the heavy cream to be steaming (but, again, not boiling). This step really helps infuse the vanilla flavor into the cream. This is a longer step as the heat of the stove should be on a low setting.
Off the Heat
In a separate bowl, I beat together the egg yolks, corn starch, and granulated sugar. I did this by hand but did my best to make the mixture light and fluffy. I like to separate the egg whites from the yolk by hand as I find it gives me the best results. It’s probably a good idea to do this is a heat-proof bowl. The next step is slowly pouring the vanilla cream into the egg mixture. I stir continuously keep the egg mixture moving. You don’t want your eggs to cook too quickly during this step!
Once everything is properly mixed off the heat, it’s time to get the mixture back on the heat. I kept the heat on low as I still wanted to avoid boiling the mixture. I also used a gentle continuous stirring technique. This keeps everything moving but allows heat to absorb into the mixture and spread evenly. This step will allow the custard to thicken. The custard is finished cooking when it is able to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
I placed the vanilla custard into a mug because my access to dishes is limited and it took a lot of self-restraint to not just start drinking it. It’s like a thick vanilla eggnog which was very hard to resist. I can see how this custard cream would be a great topping for many desserts not only the steamed school pudding!
Custard Scrambled Eggs
When cooking cream and eggs in this manner, you may notice that your mixture has started to look like scrambled eggs. This is called curdling. It often happens when eggs cook too quickly in a mixture and turn into a solid state. Unfortunately, if this happens, there is only one remedy: start over. I like to take extra care on recipes capable of curdling because I’d rather not rework everything. Or lose ingredients.
- 1 ¼ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3 Egg yolks
- 1 Tsp Corn Starch
- 1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
- Mix together heavy cream and vanilla and place over low heat until the mix is steaming hot but not boiling.
- Remove the mix from heat.
- In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks, corn starch, and caster sugar in an heatproof bowl.
- Slowly pour the hot cream from the pot into the egg yolk mix, stirring continuously. Pour the mixture back into the pot.
- Stir continuously over a low heat until the custard thickens (enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon). Do not let boil.