Custard – The question is……do you make it or buy it?

We all love custard, right? Or am I just assuming that? I know that in my family there is not a living soul who doesn’t, even the dog loves it! It is just such a homey, comforting thing. Even in the middle of summer, after a long day in the pool, the children just love it if I make some custard for them. 
Imagine a delicious Malva Pudding without runny custard over the top, of trifle without custard or horror upon horror, a life without crème brûlée(’cause that really is just custard with a crackling topping). Hard to imagine that ain’t it?
Custard form the base of so many recipes. The ever so popular South African Milk Tart, Fruit Tarts, bread pudding, Mousses and before I forget, yes, even your favorite quiche has a custard base.
It doesn’t really matter how you make your custard, whether is is with eggs or with custard powder, do it the way you like it, but serve it with love and it will be a winner every time.  If however you feel adventurous, here’s how to make a proper custard!
Custard is a cooked mixture of milk or cream and eggs(mostly yolks). You can vary the consistency of the custard by adding more or less eggs. A thin custard (crème anglaise) will use less eggs while a thick pastry cream used to fill éclairs will ultimately use more.
Custard can be cooked in a double boiler (bain-marie), a microwave, or on a very gently heat in a saucepan on a stove. Let’s not forget that custards can also be baked in the oven with or without a hot water bath.
To make custard with eggs is a delicate operation, because  it can over cook or curdle so quickly.. A cooked custard should not exceed 80 °C, although it starts cooking at 70 °C. A water bath is ideal to soften the intense direct heat.
When you add a starch, it is called a pastry cream (crème patisserie) or confectioners’ custard and is made with a milk or cream, egg yolks, caster sugar, flour or corn starch, and a flavoring such as vanilla.

After this whole tutorial, I need to confess that I sometimes just use instant custard. With a few boxes of instant custard in my fridge, I can whip up a dessert in no time. Grilled bananas with custard, stewed apples with custard and yes I can even make a crème brûlée with instant custard, but more about that later.

Do you remember the Trifles I made a while back. Yes, I bet they had all of you drooling! Well, I made them with instant custard and because they were such a hit, I wanted to place around with the same flavors, but different textures. So the idea of this Frozen Trifle came to me. Let’s make it, shall we!

Instant Custard Frozen Trifle


1 liter instant custard
1 liter good quality vanilla ice cream – slightly softened
500gr strawberries
12 lady finger biscuits or sponge cake
 1 few tots of medium cream sherry
250gr blueberries
1 packet jelly – strawberry is best, I did not have any so used pineapple

Line a small bread tin with clingfilm with enough cling film hanging over the sides to cover the pudding before freezing. Halve some of the strawberries and place them (cut side facing you) in the bottom of the tin. Mix jelly with 1 cup boiling water and mix until it has dissolved. Let it cool for a while. Pour the jelly over the strawberries and allow to set for a while( 10 minutes) Now start layering your trifle. On top of the strawberries and jelly, pour some of the custard, followed by a few lady finger biscuits. Drizzle some sherry over the cake and then spoon some of the softened ice-cream over the lady fingers. Repeat the process until you have filled the tin. Fold the plastic over the trifle and freeze until needed.
You gave to remove the trifle from the freezer, about 8-10 minutes before serving. Take a sharp knife and slice a thickish slice per portion. Serve with more fresh berries or simply a sprig on mint!