how do you make birds custard

What was the first thing you ever did in the kitchen? I’d like to say my first tentative steps into cooking were scrambling eggs or stirring a risotto, but it was far less auspicious. The pre-school memory of standing on a chair next to our formica kitchen table helping to make custard is very clear in my mind. It didn’t involve eggs or cream but a little paper sachet from a brightly coloured box marked Birds. My job was to tip some light orange powder from the sachet into a jug, add a spoonful of sugar and a splash of milk. With a spoon, I molded these elements into a bright orange paste, making sure there were no lumps. Meanwhile milk was heating on the stove. As soon as it boiled and started to creep rapidly up the sides of the pan, my Mum would snatch it away and pour it onto my paste, stirring all the time. Magically, a jug of steaming, yellow custard was the result which cooled to thick pouring consistency with a skin (which when my sister came along used to fight me for). We ate custard on an almost daily basis as pudding (we never called it dessert) was always served after ‘tea’ (our main evening meal).

This early processed convenience food was Bird’s Custard was first formulated and first cooked by Alfred Bird in 1837, because his wife was allergic to eggs the key ingredient used to thicken traditional custard.

A few weeks ago I spent a few hours with Jason Atherton, Tristan Farmer and the chefs of Marina Social. Jason first set foot in Dubai as Executive Chef for Gordon Ramsay’s Verre (now Table 9); after launching many other projects with the Ramsay Group he left to set up his own restaurants, earning a Michelin star for Pollen Street Social. At the last count he has seven restaurants in London, in addition to setting up others in New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Australia and, Marina Social in Dubai. His next to open will be on Cebu, the island in the Philippines where his wife Irha comes from.

The food is quite casual at Marina Social but a great deal of care goes into its preparation. We learned the secret of their slow-prove pizza dough and how to make tarte tatin without the pastry going soggy. Our reward for all that concentration and hands on cooking was to sit down for a late lunch. One of the desserts was a show-stopping rhubarb souffle with ‘Bird’s Custard’ poured into the middle.

The vanilla-flecked yellow stuff in a Bird’s custard jug tasted remarkably like a luxurious version of the packet stuff, which I presume is their aim. You won’t be surprised that this was the recipe I begged for. I would put a little less sugar but that’s my taste. They specify Italian eggs for the intense yellow of the yolks; I think the free range ones I get from local farms will do the job.

If you are put off making custard because you think it might split, this could be the recipe for you. Adding a bit of cornflour makes it more stable.

Here’s Jason’s advice for making English-style custard – although he says to add the cornflour after heating and then putting it through a sieve which is different from the recipe supplied below:

Custard Powder Vs Instant Custard Powder

It’s confusing, but there are two widely available, highly comparable products in the UK.

All you need to do to make instant custard powder is add hot water to make a fully formed dehydrated custard. This is not the kind of custard powder that this post is talking about, and I’m not a huge fan of the taste.

Custard powder is basically flavoured cornflour. You must add milk and sugar to make the actual custard. This is the custard powder that I’m referring to in this article.

How to Serve Custard Powder Custard

Hot and lashings of it please!

And don’t overlook the age-old favorite of the genre, bananas with custard.

Custard powder can also be helpful in a few other situations for cold desserts.

I use it in this cheat version of the Platinum Jubilee Trifle and for the main cheesecake layer of my No Bake Sherry Trifle Cheesecake.

This custard will work just as well if you prefer not to have your Christmas pudding with brandy sauce or brandy butter.

Get all of my favorite “steamed” sponge pudding recipes in one convenient location. In a fraction of the usual time, these 10-minute everyday sponges can become a festive favorite, and best of all, you won’t even realize they weren’t steamed for hours!

Including sponges with jam, lemon, chocolate, syrup, and mincemeat along with a simple Christmas pudding that can be cheated on and a few custard options to go with it.

Custard Powder Custard Tips

The dish you use, the maximum power setting on your microwave, and the temperature of your ingredients when you begin cooking will all affect how long it takes to heat and thicken the custard.

The recipe gives a guide but use your gut. Keep in mind that you can heat it more, but you cannot heat it any less, so proceed with caution.

I cooked my custard in a 700w microwave with a thick plastic mixing bowl for a total of six minutes, and it turned out perfectly.

Please make sure your dish is microwave safe before using.

Make sure to whisk the mixture just before microwaving. Custard powder settles quickly, so you don’t want hot milk to sit on top of extra-thick goop at the bottom of your bowl.

Remember to leave me a comment after attempting this recipe; I’d like to know what you thought and, if you changed anything, how it turned out.

Easy! Just get in touch with me, and I’ll try my hardest to assist as soon as I can. I’ll see what I can do if you visit my Contact Me page, any of my social media accounts, or leave a remark at the bottom of this page.


Can you make birds custard with cream?

Handy Hints: Bird’s custard powder can be made up with skimmed, semi-skimmed or full cream milk.