English Custard – History and Recipe

I thought as English Custard is an Iconic English Recipe and food, I thought my article would be interesting to fans of English Food. The custard was known in English Cuisine at least as early as the fourteenth century. One of the most popular and quintessential English Custard’s is “Birds Custard Powder” which I recommend to any cook who wants to make the perfect English custard.

The first reference to custard in England was as almond milk or almond cream In a history of the Abbey of Croyland, England, Laurence Chateres in 1413. It contained almonds, thick milk, water, salt, and sugar.

Not all custards are sweet. A quiche is a savory custard tart. Some kinds of timbale or vegetable loaf are made of a custard base mixed with chopped savory ingredients. Custard Royale is a thick custard cut into decorative shapes and used to garnish soup or broth.

Bird’s Custard (a brand name) is the original version of what is known generically as custard powder. It is a corn flour-based powder which thickens to form a custard-like sauce when mixed with milk and heated to a sufficient temperature. Bird’s Custard was first formulated and first cooked by Alfred Bird in 1837 because his wife was allergic to eggs the key ingredient used to thicken traditional custard.

In some regions of the United Kingdom, the popularity of this type of dessert is such that it is simply known as “custard.” In such cases, general usage of the word may be more likely to refer to the “Bird’s” custard rather than to the traditional egg-based variety.

In recent years, “instant” versions (containing powdered milk and sugar and requiring only hot water) and ready-made custard in tins and cartons have also become popular.

A food and drink survey carried out in 2000 found 99% of customers recognized the brand which accounts for 45% of the custard consumed in the UK. Bird’s Custard is also exported to several countries around the world, including the United States, where it is popular among several ethnic groups. Many ethnic and specialty stores across the United States sell the product. In Canada, Bird’s Custard can often be found in many popular grocery supermarkets.

In addition to the Bird’s brand, generic corn flour-based custards are widely available.

“English Custard”


1/3 cup sugar
2-3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 piece vanilla bean


Work up sugar and egg yolks with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Add flour. Scald milk and vanilla bean together and then add egg yolk mixture to it, little by little. Return to saucepan and cook slowly, stirring constantly until it comes to the boiling point. Do not allow to boil. Remove vanilla bean. Cool, stirring vigorously at first and then from time to time to prevent the crust from forming on top. Serve cold or a little warm. Another flavoring may be used. For coffee flavor use 1/2top milk and 1/2 strong coffee, for chocolate flavor add grated chocolate to taste to hot milk. Serves to 3.

Source by Paul hussey