Traditional egg-yolk custard

This traditional egg custard is the perfect way to use up egg yolks. It is easy to make if you can stir and keep stirring, and it tastes rich and smooth and just like custard should. It helps if you have three hands, but even those of us with only two hands should be able to pour, hold and stir well enough for the smooth perfection we know we all want.

Traditional egg-yolk custard

Traditional egg-yolk custard

Traditional egg custard

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy if you keep stirring
  • Print


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of plain flour
  • 2 cups of full-cream milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • some grated lemon rind
  • your choice of spice: a cinnamon stick, a couple of bruised cardamons, or whatever takes your fancy


  1. Put the yolks in a 1-litre saucepan with the sugar and flour and whisk them together. Set this aside for now.
  2. In a different saucepan, heat the milk with the vanilla, cinnamon and lemon rind. Take it off the heat as soon as it boils.
  3. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture through a wire sieve into the egg mixture. Stir the egg mixture constantly while you are pouring: you can use a wooden spoon or the whisk. The idea is to just add enough milk at a time to be able to incorporate it without getting lumps. You are doing it right if you feel like you need three hands for this.
  4. Heat the egg and milk mixture to a very slight simmer, stirring constantly. DO NOT LET IT BOIL.
  5. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes. The custard is ready when it sticks to the back of a metal spoon and just drips off slowly rather than running straight off (about 75 degrees C, or 160 F).
  6. Take the saucepan off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Stir it occasionally to prevent the skin forming on the top.
  7. Serve while still warm, or put it in the fridge to cool down if you prefer. It will keep for a few days in a well-sealed container in the fridge.


This recipe is a bit of a no-fail recipe for us. But if you do have trouble, the chances are that Sarah has already told you how to deal with it on Custard – Problems and Solutions.


Traditional egg-yolk custard

Traditional egg-yolk custard


Traditional egg-yolk custard, served over microwave sponge cake

Traditional egg-yolk custard, served over microwave sponge cake


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