This smooth vanilla crème recipe is a flexible fixture of our dessert repertoire.
While decadent on its own, this custard also pairs nicely with almost anything including fresh fruit, apple pie, pumpkin custard, cakes, muffins, brownies. It can also be used as a cream pie, cake, donut or eclair filling.
After chilling thoroughly, it can easily be caramelized into crème brûlée with a little maple or turbinado sugar under a broiler or kitchen torch.
Amazingly adaptable for those with special diets, this recipe can be made deliciously dairy-free (with coconut milk) and the egg yolks can be easily omitted if your diet requires.
Prep time:5 minutes
Cook time:10 minutes
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot starch
- 2 cups organic whole milk or cream, ideally raw or low temp pasteurized*
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup sweetener of choice (organic cane sugar, maple syrup, agave and xylitol all work well)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons butter
*For a dairy free version, use 2 cups of any diary free alternative such as almond milk, or use 3/4 cups canned, full-fat coconut milk + 1 1/4 cups water.
Omit the butter.
- Sauce pan
- Wooden spoon
- Bowls, glasses or ramekins
Step 1. Separate the Eggs
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Place the yolks into a small dish that can hold at least 1/2 cup of additional material and be easily stirred without overflowing. Stir the yolks until smooth and set aside. Reserve whites for another use.
Step 2. Thicken the Custard
In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the starch, salt and sweetener of choice (if powdered). Whisk in the cold milk (along with any liquid sweetener) until no lumps remain. Heat over medium heat. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Cook for 2 minutes longer stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Step 3. Finish the Custard
Take 1/2 cup of the warm custard and add it to the beaten egg yolks. Stir until well combined. Return the egg mixture to the larger pan of custard and stir to incorporate.
Next, stir in the vanilla. Cut the butter into small pieces and place the butter on the surface of the custard. Once completely melted, stir gently just until the butter is incorporated.
Pour the custard into bowls, ramekins or wine glasses to cool. Served slightly warm, (though it may not set completely until chilled). Chill several hours or overnight for a firmer texture.
Add chai spice mix (1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, and a dash of nutmeg) to the saucepan before heating and proceed with the recipe.
Add other flavor extracts or edible essential oils. Almond extract accents the coconut milk version nicely.