Lockdown Custard Creme Recipe

What do you like to put on top of your apple pie, crumble or any dessert?  Are you an ice cream or custard person?  I fully admit that if given the choice I'll go for custard, although that hasn't always been the way.

My earliest childhood memories of custard was from my Welsh grandmother, Molly, who use to pour it liberally over our rice pudding. As an American kid I was not impressed.  Looking back I think Nana Molly may have been using custard powder and the result was this thick, yellow, glue-like sauce.  From that moment I stayed away from custard (and rice pudding).

Luckily in my teens my Mum, Janet, started teaching me how to make her Banana Cream pie.  Suddenly my eyes were opened to how versatile custard was.  You could put in a pie, baked goods like sweet rolls and even cakes and make custard squares.   Later on I learned about how you could infuse the custard creme with fruits, liquors, teas, coffees and basically anything you could wrap in some cheese cloth.  And Creme Brulee is just a fancy custard with caramelized sugar on top!  Genius!

Custard doesn't have to be difficult to make either.  Sure, there are fancy custard recipes out there that have you doing cart wheels in their preparation, but for me, it's got to be fast and simple. 

So here's my base Custard Creme recipe.  This recipe is my go-to recipe that can customize to whatever I'm inspired by.   And below the recipe are some suggestions on how you too can easily customize the recipe.

Lockdown Custard Creme Recipe

Makes approximately 900gms of custard creme which generally is enough to fill a 9" pie shell

Ingredients

70gms Egg Yolks (4 large egg yolks)
415gms Whole Milk
200gms Cream
40gm Cornflour
100gm Sugar
70gms Butter at room temperature
Pinch of Salt
5gms Vanilla Essence

  1. In a small bowl combine sugar, cornflour and salt and set aside. It's important that the cornflour and sugars are properly combined to help avoid lumps when cooking.
  2. In a saucepan combine milk, cream and egg yolks.  Mix together until the egg yolks are fully combined.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the cold milk-egg mixture and using a whisk mix everything together until it's smooth.
  4. Put the saucepan on a stove and turn the heat to medium-low.  
  5. It's important to stir the mixture constantly until it thickens.  You will know when it's done and fully cooked when your whisk make firm drag marks through the custard creme.
  6. Take the custard creme off the heat and add room temperature butter and the vanilla (or any flavouring of your choice).  Combine until the custard creme is silky and smooth.
  7. If you have some lumps, pour the hot custard creme through a sieve into a bowl, or pour it straight into a bowl, jug or container. 
  8. Cover the entire top of the custard creme with a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper.  The wrap needs to be touching the top of the custard.  This will stop a thick skin forming as it cools.

Handy Hints

  • If making the Custard Creme for a pie, pour it hot into the pie shell and cover the top with plastic wrap.

  • If making this recipe as pouring custard, you need add a little more liquid (maybe up to 1/2 cup) - milk or flavours (like brandy, rum).

  • Since this recipe doesn't use the process of tempering the egg yolks (which usually in standard custard recipes) stirring consistently is important to avoid lumps.  And milk/cream/yolk mixture has to start from the cold or room temperature position.

  • Do you have some lumps in your finish custard creme?  No worries.  While the custard creme is still hot pour it through a sieve, or whizz it in a food processor or blender until smooth.

  • If infusing the milk (see the suggestions below), don't let the milk-cream mixture boil.  This will add a funky flavour to your custard creme.

 Changing up flavours

  • Instead of vanilla, you can add whatever flavouring you like.  A splash of brandy or rum is good. 
  • A splash of lemon juice adds another great element. Most citrus works well.
  • If you like a Chocolate Custard Creme, add some good quality chocolate with the butter towards the end.
  • Swap the Cream with Coconut Cream and suddenly you have a Coconut Custard Creme.  
  • Swap the white sugar for brown sugar and now you have a Butterscotch Custard Creme

Infusing the Custard Creme

To infuse a flavour into your custard creme, you need to add one step before starting to make the recipe above.  You're going to flavour the milk and cream before adding the egg yolks.

Here are some suggestions that work well.  I'd encourage you to use your imagination and try infusing the milk mixture with whatever you might have in your pantry.  And yes, even cereal works, like Fruit Loops, or Coco Pops.

Banana or Banoffee Custard Creme

  • Slice whole bananas long ways. 
  • In the same saucepan you're going to make the custard creme in, add the bananas, a little butter and a handful of brown sugar. 
  • Cook on a medium-low heat so the bananas caramelize.  Try to keep them in large pieces as it will be easier to strain them out later.
  • Once the bananas caramelize, add the milk and cream (not the egg yolks).  Stir a few times gently so the caramelized bananas and the lovely sugars are combined.
  • Heat the milk-cream-banana mixture until it's warm to the touch like bath water.
  • Turn off the heat.  Put a lid on the saucepan and let it sit for an hour.
  • It's up to you how long you let the mixture infuse.  Taste it along the way until you get the level of flavour you like.
  • When you're ready pour the milk mixture through a sieve and into a bowl so you can remove the banana chunks. 
  • When the infused milk mixture is room temperature, it's ready to be used in the recipe above.

Earl Grey Tea Custard Creme

  • In the same saucepan you're going to make the custard creme in, add the milk and cream from the recipe (not the egg yolks).
  • Heat the milk-cream mixture on a medium low heat until it's warm to the touch like bath water.
  • Add 3 or 4 good quality Earl Grey Tea bags.  Stir gently so the tea bags have absorbed some liquid.
  • Turn off the heat.  Put a lid on the saucepan and let it sit for an hour.
  • It's up to you how long you let the mixture infuse.  Taste it along the way until you get the level of flavour you like.
  • When you're ready remove the tea bags.
  • When the infused milk mixture is room temperature, it's ready to be used in the recipe above.

Cardamom Custard Creme

  • In the same saucepan you're going to make the custard creme in, add the milk and cream from the recipe (not the egg yolks).
  • Heat the milk-cream mixture on a medium low heat until it's warm to the touch like bath water.
  • Add 3 or 4 teaspoons of whole Cardamom seeds.
  • Turn off the heat.  Put a lid on the saucepan and let it sit for an hour.
  • It's up to you how long you let the mixture infuse.  Taste it along the way until you get the level of flavour you like.
  • When you're ready remove the tea bags.
  • When the infused milk mixture is room temperature, it's ready to be used in the recipe above.

So there you have it.  A  simple base recipe and then a springboard of ideas.  As always, if you have questions, or need tips, reach out to us on social media.  And share what you are creating!

Danielle and the Pipers

Danielle Butler is an entrepreneur and the owner of The Pie Piper & Doornuts, in Auckland, New Zealand. She's an expert baker and creator. Her specialty is in American dessert pies, cakes and other desserts. Danielle has been featured in magazines like Denizen, New Zealand and Australian Women's Weekly, and has been a guest on radio spots, a judge on baking competitions and guest speaker sharing her knowledge of all things baking and entrepreneurship. She wants to empower people to create their own special moments with friends and family through food. Danielle is passionate about combating food insecurity in our communities.

 

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