Food glossary



A sweet flavoured sauce made with eggs, milk and sugar. Custard is a distinctive creamy yellow colour and can range in thickness from a single cream pouring consistency to a thick, spoonable sauce. Ready-made custard is sold in cartons (a low fat version can also be bought), ready-made canned custard is available, and custard powder (a mixture of cornflour, sugar and flavourings) can also be bought (this is made up with milk), instant custard is sold in 3-portion sachets (this is made up with boiling water).

Uses: Custard is served, usually hot, as an accompaniment to a variety of desserts including pies, crumbles, tarts and pastries. It is a main ingredient in trifle - cold custard is spooned over a layer of sponge and fruit and then topped with whipped cream.

To store: Store cans or cartons of custard in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year. Custard powder should be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year, with the lid firmly sealed (always use a dry spoon when removing powder from the tin). Keep sachets of instant custard in a cool, dry place.

To use: Fresh and canned custard can be served straight from the pack, this is very useful when cold custard is required in a recipe. It can also be heated either in a microwave oven or on the hob, following packet instructions.

To make custard from custard powder, blend some powder with a little cold milk and sugar and then slowly stir in some heated milk. Return the mixture to a pan and heat gently, stirring all the time until thickened, check packet instructions for specific instructions.

To make instant custard, empty the contents of the pack into a measuring jug, pour on boiling water up to the 425ml level, stir briskly with a fork to incorporate all the powder.