A silky smooth and luxurious real vanilla custard that can be served hot or cold, alone or with tons of desserts. Plus, this homemade custard recipe is made from just five ingredients and a simple process.
Begin by adding the milk and vanilla to a pan. Add both the seeds and pod to the milk and then bring to a boil over low-medium heat.
Turn off the heat and remove the vanilla pod from the milk mixture.
Add the egg yolks, sugar, and cornflour to a large bowl and whisk immediately and well, until you have a yellowy cream consistency. This helps prevent the eggs from cooking if you keep the mixture in motion while adding the milk.
Next, pour the warm milk in slow amounts slowly and gradually into the bowl of egg mixture, whisking well between each addition.*
Transfer the mixture back to a pan and heat on low-medium, whisking constantly, until thickened. Depending on how low your heat is, this can take up to 15-20 minutes. Make sure not to boil the mixture at all as this can ruin the custard.**Note that the custard will thicken further when cooled.You can also, optionally, sieve the custard, for a silky smooth finish.
Optional step: Once ready remove from the heat and add in 1-2tbsp of unsalted butter to the vanilla custard. However, only do this if you don't want a thicker custard.
How to Store:
Serve this vanilla custard immediately while warm or allow it to chill in the fridge until ready to serve, for up to two days.Make sure to cover the top with plastic wrap/ beeswax wrap, to prevent a 'film' from developing on top of the custard.
How To Keep The Custard Warm:
If you want to serve the homemade custard fairly soon after making it, then you can keep it warm by standing the jug in a pan of hot water, covering the top with plastic wrap (to prevent a skin/film forming).If you want to keep the custard warm for a few hours, then you can pour it into an insulated flask.
Top Tip: I've not included a thermometer in this method, as it doesn't really need it. However, if you want to be precise, then – cooking temperatures of this custard should never go above 80°C/175°F when not including cornflour. The higher the temperature, the thicker the resulting custard.Though, because of the addition of starch in this recipe, you can reach slightly higher temperatures without it curdling- especially as cornflour only thickens at 95ºC/203ºF.------------------------------------Note* You could also place the egg mixture in a stand mixture and pour in a steady stream of the hot milk while the mixer is on a low speed.Note** If using a thermometer, then bring the mixture up to 95c/203F, allow to maintain that temperature for around 30 seconds then reduce heat to low and stir until thickened.
You can use plain flour in place of cornflour. However, the texture will be more velvety than custard-y.
For a super-indulgent custard, you can use half milk and half heavy cream in the recipe.
Feel free to strain the custard through a sieve before serving, to make sure that it's 100% silky smooth.
Allowing the custard to boil may cause it to become grainy as it cooks the eggs. Avoid this at all costs. Though, if it does happen, then you can strain the mixture and still use it in many cases.
There are several ways that you can flavor the custard. Use spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. Alternatively, you could use extracts like coffee and almond or even alcohol like brandy or bourbon.
If you find that the custard has become too thick upon setting, then you can beat/whip the mixture lightly before using it. If it's still warm in the pan, then simply add a little extra milk/cream. I haven't tried adding extra liquid to beaten/whipped cold custard to know the results.
Custard is made with raw eggs that are lightly heated. If this is something you're worried about then you can use pasteurized/heat-treated eggs.
To turn this into a firmer dessert, then you can pour the custard into individual ramekins within a pan of heated water (bain-marie) and bake until the yolks have set (15-20 minutes).