Monday, December 28, 2009

Elfie's Perfect Custard

Here is how I make a perfect custard. To me perfect means that it is rich and ultra smooth with no bubbles. The consistency has to be firm but super tender.

First I lay out all the things I will need.

one big sauce pan

one big baking dish

one 8 or 9 inch round glass baking dish

wire whisk

measuring cups and spoons


paper towels

teakettle of water

and I usually forget something :)

I use

6 big fresh eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

1/2 cup sugar

butter or margarine - NOT shortening please

3 cups whole milk - please do not use skim milk

Now the magic of perfect custard is all in how the eggs are treated. They are the main magic bit! We want them treated very tenderly throughout. Not beat up, not overheated. So we are going to bake the custard in a water bath. Put a paper towel folded in half in the bottom of the large baking pan - I use my Corning ware 10X10X2 for the bottom pan. Put the round 8 or 9 in glass pan on the paper towel. Butter the inside of the glass pan. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and put the rack in the middle position. Start the teakettle heating. I do all this stuff first because once I break an egg I want my whole attention to be on the custard mixture until I get it into the oven. It sounds complicated, but it isn't really at all.

Get the big saucepan and put all the ingredients in it. Set it on a medium high burner and whisk everything together gently. GENTLY - no beating, no bubbles, just stir briskly and continue stirring. The object to it get the custard mixture to a near boiling temp without ever letting it bubble. Doesn't take very long. Once it begins steaming a little that is enough. Pour it through the sieve into the buttered glass pan. This is a crucial step - the sieve is another one of the secrets to perfectly smooth custard as it will hold out all the icky bits of the eggs. By now the teakettle should be boiling so pour the water very carefully into the large pan until it is just about up to the level of the custard. Put your custard into the hot oven and bake it for about 45 minutes. Test it by slipping a clean cold sharp knife into the center - if it comes out clean it is done. After you do this a few times you can tell just by jiggling the pan a bit. Take it out of the water bath and cool on a wooden board if available or wire rack.

Sometimes I like to put in some brandy flavor or some rum flavor - do whatever makes it into what YOU want it to be. Using dark brown sugar will make it have a slightly caramel flavor and darker color. Sprinkle it with nutmeg or allspice or cinnamon. Plain custard topped with any preserved fruit is a treat! Hot, creamy warm, or chilled on a warm evening custard is an all year round nutritious delight! Be sure to refrigerate the custard after it cools. If there is any left.

You can also make this in little dishes in a water bath if you want individual servings. I just serve it like a pie.

Any questions? I'd love to hear from you! email me at


  1. Oh, thank you so much for posting this!

  2. Oh I love this. Yes of course, whole milk & real butter! Can custard get better than this? Love the idea of using brown sugar! Have a wonderful 2010 Robyn!! {HUGS}