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Custard, Rice Pudding and Mini Custard Tarts

January 15, 2014 Deanna No Comments

The universe divides into two when it comes to desserts. There are dessert people and there are non-dessert people. Don’t be confused- dessert people are not those that don’t like sweet things, but all dessert people (you know who you are) cannot end a meal without a dessert. Anything sweet usually satisfies the craving.

My brother for instance, a dessert guy, used to have a bowl of cereal after every meal…breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the other side of the spectrum is my husband, who at the end of every perfect meal at a restaurant when the waiter comes to ask what we’ll be having for dessert he gives me the face that say, “I’m full, you go ahead and order and eat it by yourself”. Really, by myself? So I go home and dream about the amazing Pavlova the waiter says was on their dessert specials. So I am a dessert person, but not the fullest extent (a real hardcore one would sit across from her husband, and eat away).

Danya is a hardcore dessert person. On days when we’re shooting sweets I have to make sure to have something savory to balance out the sugar, while Danya is perfectly fine eating snacking all day on cakes, cookies, jams… whatever it may be were shooting. She is so much so that she even has a secret stash of sweets in her kitchen, which, until now, only she knew about. Recently, when the stash got low and all was left was bag of Bird’s Custard (a British sort of ready-made powder for making custard), Danya went custard happy and made custard 3 ways. She got so excited about the desserts that it turned into this fabulous post. And hey, why not pair the totally Brit Shepherd’s Pie from last week, with a classic British dessert?

Classic Custard

There are so many things you can do with custard besides for just eating it on its own. Here’s some ideas:

  • Use it on top of warm apple pie instead of ice cream for a more winter-y dessert.
  • Add it to your favorite pancake batter for more fluffy and rich pancakes
  • Eat it with baked fruit (like apples)
  • Fill pie shells and bake

Ingredients for 4 servings:

2 cups whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

1 vanilla bean pod or one teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 egg yolks

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch


  1. Heat the milk, cream and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat until just boiling. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes while flavors infuse.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cornstarch until smooth.
  3. Pour a ½ cup of the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk vigorously. Repeat with an additional ½ cup, and then pour all of the egg mixture into the milk mixture, still while whisking.
  4. Cook on low heat, while whisking until the mixture is thickened.
  5. Serve warm.

*If you want to refrigerate the custard, place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the custard, so that a layer of film does not form.

Orange Essence Rice Pudding

Ingredients for a 9 in. (25 cm.) x 11 in. (30 cm.) baking dish:

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

5 thin strips of orange rind

5 thin strips of ginger (optional)

⅔ cup short grain rice

⅔ cup sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon orange zest


  1. Heat the milk, cream and orange rind in a small saucepan over medium heat until just boiling. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. In the meantime, cook the rice in a pot filled with boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  5. Using a slotted spoon remove the orange rind and ginger from the milk. Pour milk into the egg mixture while constantly whisking. Add the strained rice and orange zest and mix to combine.
  6. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Place a baking dish in a larger than the one filled with the mixture into the oven and fill it halfway with water. Carefully place the baking dish with the rice pudding inside the dish with the water and bake for 40 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.
  7. Serve warm.

Mini Custard Tarts

This is more of an idea than a recipe and a great way to use leftover cold custard:

Take store-bought puff pastry and cut into either a small square or circle. Brush dough with a beaten egg and place a tablespoon or two of custard in the center. Top with fresh sliced berries, grapes, apples (any fruit will do) and bake in a preheated oven (350°F/180°C) for 20 minutes, until golden. Serve warm.

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