2000s Recipes + Menus

Vanilla Custard

Makesabout 4 cups
  • Active time:20 min
  • Start to finish:3 1/4 hr (includes chilling)
March 2005
This custard isn’t meant to be eaten on its own. Food editor Melissa Roberts-Matar wanted the Pistachio Rhubarb Trifle’s cake layers to soak up the custard, so this one has a much looser consistency than most puddings.
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Special equipment:

    an instant-read thermometer
  • Heat milk in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not boiling.
  • While milk heats, whisk together yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heatproof bowl until smooth.
  • Add 1 cup hot milk to yolk mixture in a stream, whisking, then add remaining milk, whisking constantly. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and registers 170°F on thermometer, 6 to 10 minutes (do not boil).
  • Immediately force custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and stir in butter and vanilla. Chill custard, its surface covered with wax paper, until cold and thickened, at least 3 hours.
Cooks’ notes:
  • Custard can be cooled quickly by setting bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stirring occasionally.
  • Custard can be chilled, its surface covered with wax paper and bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap, up to 2 days.
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