Custard Dessert
In addition to a dessert sauce, you can use soft custard to compose a dessert. Here, layered in small glasses, fruit purée and custard sauce are topped with granola and fresh berries too make an elegant dessert. Photo © Hazel Proudlove | Fotolia.



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December 2007

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Dessert Sauces & Toppings

Soft Custard Sauce Recipe

For Cakes, Berries, Anything



If you’ve ever enjoyed a delicious custard sauce on a restaurant dessert, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to make at home. A few eggs, some sugar, milk, some vanilla  and salt—ordinary ingredients—turn into a heavenly dessert topping that turns anything into a glamour dish. There are eight variations on the basic recipe, below.

Use custard sauce on fresh berries, sliced bananas, pound cake or any un-iced cake (you can add some berries here, too), fruit cake, pies and crumbles. You can pre-pour before you serve the dessert, serve it in a pitcher and let guests help themselves.

You also can compose a dessert, like the one at the left, in any glass, including a martini glass. This one starts with delectable blackberry berry purée which we purchased from The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley, then topped with custard sauce, some gourmet granola and fresh blackberries. Heavenly! You can use stewed fruits or make your favorite pie filling (or crumble recipe—add the streusel on top of the custard) instead of the puréed fruit.

Read our Custard Glossary to learn about the many types of custard. It’s fascinating!


  • 4 eggs or 8 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 1½ teaspoons real vanilla extract*
  • See the variations below for more flavor ideas

*If you have a vanilla bean and prefer to use it, scald it in the milk.

Custard Sauce
Pour custard sauce over berries, cake and
crumbles (shown above). Photo © Er Kan Mai | Fotolia.


  1. In large saucepan, beat together the eggs, sugar and salt. Stir in the milk.
  2. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches at least 160°F, thickens and just coats a metal spoon with a thin film. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in vanilla. Cool quickly by setting pan in bowl of ice or cold water and stirring for a few minutes. Cover and chill thoroughly.

Some recipes serve the sauce warm. Zabaglione, for example, which is custard sauce flavored with marsala wine (or sherry) over strawberries, can be served warm or chilled.


  • Brown Sugar: Substitute firmly-packed brown sugar for granulated sugar. Cook as above.
  • Chocolate: Reduce milk to 2¼ cups. Stir in ¼ cup chocolate-flavored syrup. Cook as above.
  • Coconut: After cooling, stir in ½ cup toasted shredded coconut.
  • Creme De Menthe: Stir in 2 tablespoons green creme de menthe liqueur just before cooling.
  • Lemon: Omit vanilla. Stir in 1 teaspoon lemon extract just before cooling.
  • Mocha: Reduce milk to 2¼ cups. Stir in ¼ cup chocolate-flavored syrup and 2 teaspoons instant coffee. Cook as above.
  • Sour Cream: Reduce milk to 1 cup. After cooling, stir in 1 cup dairy reduced-fat sour cream.
  • Spirited: Omit vanilla. Stir in 1½ teaspoons brandy or rum extract just before cooling. You can use pure spirits too, to taste. We like orange liqueurs (Grand Marnier is just one brand) as well as cognac and rum.


Recipe courtesy of American Egg Board. Other material

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