How To Make Proper Custard

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A viewer recently requested a tutorial on how to make proper custard. In response, I decided to create a video demonstrating the process. There is a quick and easy method using powdered custard that only requires adding milk and a bit of sugar. But real or proper custard is made by combining egg yolks with milk or cream, either individually or in combination. It’s not a challenging process and results in a delicious custard.

The ingredients list is minimal. It consists of egg yolks and milk (or cream), along with some sugar, cornflour, and vanilla extract. Sugar adds sweetness. The cornflour helps thicken the custard to the desired consistency. Then the vanilla extract imparts a delightful flavour. The custard’s consistency can vary depending on personal preference, and its intended use. For instance, pastry cream, which is based on custard, requires a very thick consistency. However in other instances, a pouring consistency is preferred. Even the pouring consistency can be adjusted based on preference.

In this recipe, I create a relatively thin custard, which is my preference. This version includes 6g (2 tsp) of cornflour. However, using 9g or 12g of cornflour will result in a thicker custard if desired.

Proper Custard
Proper Custard

Method for making Proper Custard

The process is straightforward. First, heat the milk or cream until it’s scalding hot but not boiling. While it heats, combine the egg yolks with sugar and cornflour, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Slowly add the scalding hot milk or cream to the egg mixture while continuously whisking. Adding it slowly and whisking prevents the egg yolks from scrambling. Once combined, return the mixture to the saucepan, add the vanilla extract, and gently heat while stirring constantly until it thickens.

To test the consistency, check if the custard coats the back of a spoon and leaves an open path when a finger is drawn through it. If it’s not thick enough, you can continue heating, but avoid bringing it to a boil. Once the custard reaches your desired consistency, pour it into a bowl and let it cool to your preferred serving temperature. To prevent a skin from forming on the top as it cools, press plastic wrap onto the surface. The custard will thicken slightly as it cools completely.

My Custard

My custard had a thin pouring consistency, just as I like. I use it like that for pouring over fruits and tarts. Sometimes I make a thicker version to spoon onto a serving plate with some dessert. In that instance I tend to serve it cold. The flavour was very good, with the vanilla to the fore and the custard had a creamy texture. It was just exactly as I like it. Once cooled in the fridge it thickened more, to a thick pouring consistency.

Proper Custard – Video

Another ‘How To’ video recipe is How To Make Rough Puff Pastry

How To Make Proper Custard

Recipe by geoffcooCourse: DessertsCuisine: InternationalDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 600ml(2 1/2 cups) milk, or cream – see note below

  • 4 medium egg yolks(large in USA)

  • 37g(3 tbsp) caster sugar

  • 6g(2 tsp) cornflour – for thicker custard see note below

  • 5ml(1 tsp) vanilla extract


  • Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat it until scalding hot , but not boiling.
  • Place the sugar and cornflour into a large bowl and mix them together.
  • Add the egg yolks and whisk them into the dry ingredients until smooth.
  • Slowly add the hot milk, whisking all the time, into the egg mixture.
  • Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place it on a gentle heat.
  • Stir the mixture constantly as it heats up and begins to thicken.
  • When the mixture coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a finger through it and leave a clean trail the custard is thick enough, though you can continue to cook to thicken more. Do not let the mixture boil.
  • Pour the custard into a bowl and press some plastic wrap down onto the surface of the custard to prevent a film from forming as it cool to your desired temperature. The custard will thicken a little more as it cools completely.


  • You can use milk or cream, or a combination of both.
  • Although the recipe uses 6g of cornflour you can use more to create a thicker custard. For this recipe I wouldn’t exceed 12g.

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