Custard is a preparation involving the use of milk or cream cooked with egg yolk to thicken. In some cases, flour, corn starch, or gelatin are also used. The consistency of the custard varies depending on how it is used – if it is crème anglaise, the custard is thin, but if it is for crème pâtissière used to fill éclairs, the custard should be thick. A common use of custard is as a sweet dessert containing vanilla and sugar, although there is also custard in savory foods like quiche, a French tart.
The practice of making custard tarts date back to the Middle Ages. The word ‘custard’ originates from the French word ‘croustade’ (which was derived from the Italian word crostata, which is from the Latin crustāre), pertaining to the crust of the tart. The 14th-century collection of recipes entitled The Forme of Cury made mention of two custard dishes – Crustardes of flessh and Crustade. Custards are commonly served in the Northern United States during the Fourth of July celebration.
- Vanilla custard was used as pie filling during the Middle Ages
- August 17 is National Vanilla Custard Day
- In 2014, Molly Schuyler ate 12 lbs of custard in three minutes in Irving, Texas.
- The largest custard slice weighs 804.11 kg. from Dulwich Bakery in Adelaide, South Australia.
- The world record for the largest custard pie fight happened in Colchester, Essex, the UK on 13 august 2009. It featured 253 people and 648 custard pies thrown at each other.
Custard Buying Guide
You can buy custard cake or custard pie from a bakery. Many bakeries sell freshly-made custard cakes and pies. Make sure to handle this with care during transport from the bakery to your next destination because custard cakes/custard pies are fragile. If you hit a pothole or if the box is tilted to one side, you might ruin the custard cake or custard pie. Make sure you buy it on the day you plan to eat it. Even though refrigeration can keep it from going bad or spoiling, it is still ideal that you eat a freshly-baked cake or pie.
Also, you can buy custard pie in the grocery or supermarket. These are usually sold in a box. Inside the box are individually-packed single-serving custard pies. While this lasts longer because they are made to have a long shelf life, always make sure to read the label and check the expiration date. Buy just enough for you and your family to consume until the next grocery day since boxed custard pies are always available in stores.
Custard Production & Farming in Texas
There are many bakeries and restaurants in Texas selling custard cakes and custard pies. Here, there are also small-businesses selling home-made custard cakes and pies, using home-grown or locally-sourced ingredients from local farmers and growers.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
The production of custard includes the use of two preservatives: sodium benzoate (E211)and potassium sorbate (E202).
- Sodium benzoate is a widely used food pickling agent.
- Potassium sorbate is an odorless and tasteless salt synthetically produced from sorbic acid and potassium hydroxide and this chemical additive are commonly used as a preservative in foods, drinks, and personal care products.
Custard pies are sold in boxes of small quantities (dozen, half a dozen, in threes or twos) and the pies inside the box are individually packed in food-grade bags (plastic, polymer, or tin foil wrapper).
Custard cakes or pies bought from bakeries are sold in aluminum trays or round aluminum foil cake pans placed inside a box.
Custard cakes and pies are eaten as a dessert or as a snack. It goes well with either hot or cold beverages. While it is best to eat freshly-baked or freshly-made, others also enjoy eating cold custard cake or pies straight out of the refrigerator.
We also enjoy eating custard as a component of other popular foods and desserts, including banana custard, bavarian cream, Boston cream pie, bougatsa, cream pie, crème brûlée, crème caramel, custard tart, egg tart, eggnog, English trifle, flan, floating island, frozen custard, galaktoboureko, kremna rezina, muhallebi, natillas, pastel de nata, pudding, taiyaki, vanilla slice, vla, and zabaglione.
Keep custard cakes and pies refrigerated. Commercial, mass-produced snack-size custard pies usually do not require refrigeration. Nonetheless, read the instructions on the packaging and follow storage requirements as indicated.
Make your own custard:
Custard may appear easy to cook, but it is not. It is important to be attentive to the temperature to avoid overcooking and curdling. Use a double boiler (bain-marie) when cooking custard, but if you don’t have one, you can also use a saucepan over a stove. Other ways to cook custard include steaming, baking in the oven, and using a pressure cooker. It is very rewarding afterward because eating the delicious custard cake or pie is quite enjoyable.
200ml Double cream
700ml Whole milk
4 Egg yolks (large)
3 tbsp Cornflour
100g Caster sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Step 1. Put the cream and milk into a large pan and gently bring to just below boiling point.
Step 2. In a large bowl, whisk the yolks, cornflour, sugar, and vanilla.
Step3. Gradually pour the hot milk mixture onto the sugar mixture, whisking constantly.
Step 4. Wipe out the saucepan and pour the mixture back into it. Heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon until the custard is thickened, but before any lumps form.
Step 5. Eat hot or cold.