Boiled Custard

Boiled Custard

Boiled Custard was something I never heard of until I moved to the South. Up until that time, when someone called a dish “custard,” I thought of either a baked dessert that is set (like flan) or the cooked and slightly thick base for ice cream. Who knew that a cross between the two was a dessert in its own right?!

Boiled Custard, as I soon discovered, was served as a drinkable (or it can be eaten with a spoon) dessert during the holidays and is often paired with another dessert, such as pecan or pumpkin pie or pound cake. A little bit of each is the perfect option for those folks who can’t decide which dessert to choose…so why, of course, just have both! And Boiled Custard with pie or cake really is delicious when served together.

Boiled Custard front of recipe card

Boiled Custard back of recipe card

There’s not much we can do to update or improve upon this tasty old-fashioned holiday favorite. The 8-minute cooking time is spot on; be sure to keep the water on simmer (not boiling) in your double boiler and whisk the mixture constantly to keep the temperature even while it’s cooking.  As you probably know, when cooking anything with eggs, if the temperature gets too hot, you may end up with scrambled eggs and that’s not what we want for dessert.

Think eggnog meets pudding and you will understand the texture of this custard. We liked the addition of crushed ginger snaps to add another flavor, and a little texture and crunch, making it a very festive holiday dessert.

If you haven’t been introduced to Boiled Custard in the past, it will become a new favorite in your home during the holidays.

Serve the custard in a glass or decorative glass serving dish
Serve the custard in a glass or decorative serving dish

Boiled Custard
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Depending on how you serve the custard and if you serve it along with another dessert, this recipe can serve between 6 to 8 people.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Beat eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until the mixture is smooth and pale yellow. Add the salt.
  2. Heat milk in a large double boiler until it steams. Gradually add in a very small amount of the egg and sugar mixture to temper the milk, whisking constantly. Continue to add the egg and sugar mixture, a little at a time, while whisking. Then whisk in the cornstarch. Cook mixture slowly over simmering water, whisking constantly, for about 8 minutes.
  3. Remove immediately from the heat and strain through a mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Whisk in vanilla. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

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