Stirred Custard

YIELD Makes 2-1/2 cups custard


2 cups milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Heat milk in small saucepan until hot. (Instant-read thermometer should register 170°F.) Do not boil.
  2. Whisk eggs in top of double boiler until well blended. Add sugar and salt; whisk until blended. Stir in hot milk.
  3. Fill bottom of double boiler with water to 1 inch below level of top pan. Bring water just to a boil; reduce heat to low. Place top of double boiler over hot, not boiling, water.
  4. Cook and stir over low heat 10 to 12 minutes until egg mixture thickens and instant-read thermometer registers about 170°F. (Mixture should coat back of spoon. Run fingertip across back of spoon; if mark remains, mixture is ready.) Do not boil. Custard will thicken as it cools.
  5. Immediately remove top of double boiler from heat. Stir in vanilla. For a smoother texture, strain through wire mesh sieve into medium bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Slow cooking over gentle heat is essential to prevent curdling of a stirred custard. If the water in the bottom of the double boiler begins to simmer, reduce the heat until the water no longer simmers.
This recipe appears in: Custards & Puddings
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