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Perfect custard

"I’m going out on a limb here, but... there’s nothing that can beat homemade custard. Forget the powder. Fresh, homemade custard is rich, delicious and, well, homely. It’s everything you want to cover all over your dessert. And Imean ALL over. None of this ‘there’s-not-enough’ situation. Make it fresh.And make lots of it. No complaints."


Find more recipes in Poppy's new cookbook, Poppy Cooks.



  • 300ml / 1-1/4 cups double cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoon sugar


  1. Set yourself set up. If you are not using the custard immediately, then you will need something big enough for the custard to be strained into. If you are using the custard straight away, place a sieve over a jug, or whatever it is you’re serving it in.
  2. Pour the double cream into a small saucepan and add the vanilla. Place the pan over a medium heat and slowly bring it up to the simmer – just so that bubbles are forming around the edges of the cream. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, beat together the egg yolks and sugar, until the colour has turned pale.
  4. Stirring the whole time, little by little, pour about half the cream from the pan into the sweetened yolks – this will gently bring the yolks up to temperature so that they don’t scramble when they go into the rest of the hot cream.
  5. Then, pour the yolk mixture in the bowl into the pan with the remaining cream and return to a low–medium heat, stirring continuously for about 7–10 minutes, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.*TIP!
  6. Strain the thickened custard through the sieve into your chosen receptacle. If you’re keeping it until later, cover the surface of the custard with cling film (make sure it’s actually touching the surface), which will stopa skin forming on top.


Excerpted from Poppy Cooksby Poppy O’Toole. Copyright © 2021 Poppy O’Toole. Photography ©2021 Louise Hagger. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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