My grandmother gave me a love for cooking and in particular, baking and desserts. The very first thing she taught me to make was a basic ‘crème à la vanille’ (I could say custard, but it just sounds so much prettier in French!) Initially on the real food journey, I thought I was going to have to give up a bunch of stuff. Now? It’s all about changing the language, adapting the vocab and using better ingredients to make the occasional treat kind, and in fact nutritious, to one’s body. Enjoy my grandmère’s crème reworked.
Home Made Vanilla Bean Custard Recipe
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup, 3 tablespoons of Succanat/Rapidura sugar or 3 tbsp coconut sugar For fructose free, do rice syrup or stevia 1:1 powder to taste.
- 4 egg yolks that are from chickens that roam in fields and are happy – we want happy animal life on the farm andf maximum omega 3 and vitamin D in our treats, thanks very much!
- 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder.
- 1-5 tsp tapioca or arrowroot for thickening the custard (go more if you enjoy a thicker custard)
- 500 ml your milk of choice Coconut Milk makes a gorgeous dairy-free version if you need or prefer to go that way. Nut milks will be a bit more volatile as they are naturally lower in fats and I suggest not putting the custard back on for too long to thicken when that time comes and keeping the heat low witha 'slowly wins the race' vibe – better to have a thinner custard than a curdled one!
- Either pop everything in the thermomix for 7 minutes on speed 4, 80C OR follow this traditional method, which I find very therapeutic and still do often if I have the 15 minutes spare. It's how my grandmère taught me so there's a nice little serving of nostalgia there too.
- Get your milk and vanilla pod that’s been cut in half and seeds scraped out into the milk, with the rest of the pod, popped into a small saucepan on medium heat.
- While it’s heating, whisk your yolks, chosen sweet stuff & tapioca flour together in a separate bowl that’s going to be big enough to pour the milk into as well when the time comes. I do 3 tsp tapioca flours for this much custard.
- When the milk is just coming to simmer / froth around the edges, take it off the heat and we're going to carefully combine it with the egg/sugar/tapioca mix.
- You might want a buddy here, to pour the milk in while you stir the egg/sugar bowl as the milk goes in - especially if your wrists aren't strong or you're a little frazzled making it the first time. Pour a tiny bit of the vanilla milk into the egg mixture bowl, stirring continuously, and then continue to pour the rest into the bowl in a steady, slow stream until all the milk/eggs/sugar/tapioca/vanilla are combined. Now it's time to thicken it!
- Immediately then pour that whole custard back into the saucepan on a low-medium heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon nicely. Give the empty mixing bowl a quick rinse, ready for the ready custard in a minute or two. Do not let your custard bubble and do not stop stirring it. If you let it get too hot and too still, it will curdle. If in doubt of it starting to curdle, take it off the heat immediately and pour into bowl - if you leave it in the saucepan it will curdle so as soon as it's thickened, out of the saucepan and into the bowl = success. Liquidy custard is better than chunky curdled custard, trust me!
- You are done. Leave the vanilla pod in there as it cools to let those flavours deepen further, and pop in the fridge for a couple of hours or even a couple of days – if you can resist that long! Saved from stodgy, highly processed, additive laden supermarket crapola custard forever more and I promise you will find this super-easy by the 3rd time you make irt.
Variations and what to serve with
Chocolate variation: whisk a little cocoa powder (1-2 teaspoons) into the eggyolk / sweet stuff mixture and proceed as you were! Divine. Serve it with my chocolate coconut cupcakes, in a chocolatey, custardy soup.
A simple dessert once mastered. This crème is beautiful to serve as a pudding accompaniment to the spelt based vanilla coconut cupcakes I posted here – dinner party heaven as it’s all ready in advance! Or for yourself or guests with gluten / grain allergies, or just because these are delicious – my coconut cupcakes.
Another delicious addition is to either poach half pears and serve or to fry slices of banana in a little butter and cinnamon and garnish with toasted coconut. Oh my!
Real Food. Super happy bodies! xx