Proper English Custard Sauce Recipe

Bowl of bread and butter pudding with custard cream sauce
Cultura/BRETT STEVENS/Riser/Getty Images
  • 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 6 - 8 servings
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Without any doubt, puddings without a proper custard is unheard of when it comes to British puddings. The two cannot exist without each other, pudding and custard is just so, well British. 

Custard, the perfect partner for British puddings and desserts. Custard sauce, as it is also known, is so easy to make - just look at the custard recipe below - so there's no need to ever buy a jar or packet again.


What You'll Need

  • 150ml (5 fl oz) milk, preferably full fat, but will work if not
  • 250ml  (8½ fl oz)  double or heavy cream
  • 55g (2 oz) caster sugar
  • 6 large, free-range egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds removed

How to Make It

  •  Place the milk and cream into a heavy bottomed saucepan and one teaspoon of the sugar, bring to a gentle simmer, once simmering, turn the heat to its lowest.
  • In a large heatproof bowl, place the sugar and the egg yolks and with a hand (or electric) whisk, whisk until light, creamy and paler in colour.
  • Slowly, whilst still whisking, pour the warmed milk into the egg mixture.
  • Strain the custard sauce through a fine sieve back into the saucepan, add the seeds from the vanilla pod. Over a low heat, stir constantly and gradually the custard will start to thicken. It is important you do not do not speed this process up or you run the risk of the sauce curdling and even worse burning.and even worse burning.
  • Finally, once thickened, remove from the heat and pass through a sieve again.



Don't be confused by pastry cream , also known as creme patisserie when making  custard sauce. Pastry cream is much thicker and is used in making classic patisserie, it is not a pouring sauce like custard.

There are several alternatives to the classic custard, as follows. 

Chocolate: Chocolate sauce is another classic of the British kitchen and is extremely popular poured over a simple sponge pudding or piece of cake. 

Raspberry: Raspberry, like chocolate, is a lovely sauce to pour over a simple sponge, and over a chocolate sponge is sublime. 

Brandy Sauce: The classic custard comes into play at Christmas when it is teamed with the traditional Christmas Pudding.   There are several sauces served with the pudding, but a brandy custard is always popular. Making it is so easy. Take the recipe above and at the very end of the cooking and passing through the sieve, add 6 tablespoons of good quality brandy through the sauce (adjust the amount according to your taste. It is not recommended to serve brandy sauce to children.