Real English Custard from Scratch

"Okay so I grew up with real custard (no powder). This is my Mum's recipe and I make it for my kids. Serve warm, never hot. To make it interesting add some rum essence for Christmas."
photo by Swirling F. photo by Swirling F.
photo by Swirling F.
photo by Swirling F. photo by Swirling F.
photo by Swirling F. photo by Swirling F.
Ready In:
6 cups




  • In a bowl beat the yolks and cornflour by hand with a whisk until well combined.
  • Heat the milk and the vanilla in a heavy based saucepan.
  • Add the yolk mixture and the sugar.
  • Stir constantly (in a figure 8 to get all the sides) over a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes OR until it is thick and coats the back of the spoon. Never let it boil as the bottom of the pan will burn and all you will taste is burnt custard.
  • Rest for 10 minutes and serve warm.

Questions & Replies

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  1. I haven't tried the recipe, but to the reviewers who complained about there being just liquid or the dish overcooking instantly, the secret is to add a little bit of the hot milk to the egg mixture and stir it well first just to start the tempering, and then add the egg mixture to the rest of the milk. I hope that helps.
  2. While I haven't made this recipe it seems to have a number of fatal flaws. Firstly - sugar and starch should be mixed together first with a whisk and the egg yolks added and mixed until smooth ensuring that any lumps are gone. Secondly, a small amount of the hot milk should be added to the egg/starch/sugar mix while whisking vigorously first to temper the egg before one puts it into the hot milk to avoid making nasty egg scramble. Thirdly according to my experience and everything I've read about the chemical processes of making a custard that includes starch like cornflour, one MUST boil the mixture in order to achieve a creamy texture. It's milk alone that must never be boiled, only cooked until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan, but the custard itself must boil (characterized as the appearance of several large bubbles in the *center* of the pan) for the chemical process which keeps everything from separating into a weepy mess in the refrigerator, to take place. Finally, add the vanilla at the end, after cooking, before setting, unless you're using a real vanilla bean, which should be steeped in the hot milk in the beginning.
  3. After following the recipe to the word, I ended up with a saucepan full of liquid and lumpy corn-egg mixture. I was whisking the entire time yet the ingredients did not blend. Extremely disappointed.
  4. This recipe needs more detail to help those of us searching for a recipe for making "custard from scratch". My experience with cornstarch is that it tends to disappoint if not cooked following the hot/cold procedures. I need more detail in step 3 and also am not sure if it's turned out as far as texture. I will say my kids enjoyed making and eating it, although it took far longer than 10 minutes to cook on the stove.
  5. So I did everything this recipe said. However, it took way longer than 10 minutes to thicken. It didn't even think to start thickening till about 15 minutes in. It never really thickened so we ate runny custard, it tasted fine, but it wasn't very thick


<p><img src= alt=/ /> <br /><br />As a toddler, my nic-name was Pompom (my Poppy had a golf hat with a pompom and it was one of my first words, and it stuck as my nic name). &nbsp;My Poppy has long since passed, but I fondly remember him every time I log on. &nbsp;I'm a stay at home mum of four aged: 10, 8, 7 and almost 6. I have a severe egg allergy and am lactose intolerant, I&nbsp;enjoy working out ways to still enjoy food minus eggs and milk. I have been married for 14 years and have one very happy and well fed hubby.<br />My goal is to try one new recipe a week, for the past 8 years have achieved this. &nbsp;I own over 300 cookbooks, but no longer purchase them - but regularly print out recipes to try later.<br />When I am not cooking, I am busy household of 6 and going to the gym (to work off the wonderful calories I consumed the day before) and helping at school and church.<br />My philosophy in life is: as we have to eat, we may as well eat well.</p>
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