This creamy all-in-one Ginger Custard recipe is faff free, delicious and doesn’t require a tonne of eggs! Use it chilled as a layer in a trifle, pipe into pastries or serve it hot over warming sponges and desserts.
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This recipe originally came about when I was testing ways to make simpler, easier and cheaper versions of the layers in the official Coronation Trifle recipe released by the crown.
The original recipe made a vat of custard and used 16 egg yolks, revised versions II and III both use 8 egg yolks. For a trifle serving 8 people, that’s an awful lot of egg, especially with prices as they are these days.
So this recipe makes exactly the right amount to use in an 8 person trifle and only uses 2 eggs. My cheat’s trifle recipe gives you the option of simply thickening and adding ginger flavour to ready made custard. But if you have a few extra moments, this proper homemade version is actually truly delicious.
I also found that it works just great as a pouring custard too. After I took the photos of it served with warm Parkin (another official-coronation-trifle-layer-but-better recipe), I couldn’t stop eating it. And I’ve made it a few more times since – not because it needed more testing, just because it was really good!
How to Serve Ginger Custard
As I’ve clearly mentioned, this recipe is initially designed as a layer in a trifle.
That doesn’t need to be the strawberry and ginger coronation trifle, in fact it would pair really well with more wintery flavours – think apple or pear compote or even dark cherries or blueberries as the main complementary flavours.
You can also use the custard as a filling for Danish pastries, turnovers or just use it as a set dessert with a little cream on top.
And then there is serving it warm as a pouring custard.
Go straight for a bowl of banana or try with any of these hot puds or crumbles. Obviously don’t add the sticky toffee buttercream on the cupcakes!
Ingredients for Homemade Ginger Custard
Cream & Milk
I’ve used both double cream (heavy cream) and milk in this recipe. I haven’t specified the kind of milk because you can use any. You could replace some of the milk with more cream for a thicker, richer custard, or even use all cream.
I’ve kept the number of egg yolks needed in the recipe as low as I can. Any less or no eggs and custard really stops being custard. (Unless we’re talking about Bird’s custard and then that’s a whole different ballgame).
Use any medium, large or extra large eggs. The difference in the size of the egg yolk is minimal. Unfortunately you will only need the yolks so save the whites to use another time (they will freeze).
The cornflour (cornstarch) is what thickens the custard without needing a tonne of eggs.
I am aware that the way I’ve ordered the mixing of the ingredients may look a little odd but I promise you everything is for good reason. Unless you mix cornflour with a cold liquid to make a thin paste before adding it to other ingredients, disaster ensues.
Please use white sugar or golden sugar if you must. Avoid any brown or molasses sugars as the texture won’t be right and the flavour will be odd.
After trying this custard made with just fresh ginger and just ground ginger, I wasn’t enamoured with the flavour of either. But in true Goldilocks style, I discovered that a little bit of both was just right.
Any fresh ginger you use must be very finely grated. You can either grate fresh ginger yourself or use a jar of ginger paste which is my preference for ease (and to minimise food waste).
You can use this basic recipe but replace the ginger flavouring with another. It is best to focus on drier flavourings rather than looking to add juices or liquid flavour.
A little orange extract and zest would be where orange juice would affect the thickness and texture of the custard. A little lemon juice wouldn’t hurt too much if added after the custard started to thicken but zest would be the better flavour addition.
Replacing the ginger or adding mixed spice would make for a very autumnal spiced custard.
Adding cocoa powder would make a chocolate custard although you must mix the cocoa with boiling water to form a paste before adding to the rest of the ingredients. You could also stir in melted chocolate after the custard has thickened – dark chocolate will give the move impactful flavour.
Or of course you can keep things simple and just add a little vanilla extract or infuse a whole vanilla pod and the seeds for a vanilla custard.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
This ginger custard recipe is suitable for vegetarians as written.
To make a vegan ginger custard you can easily replace the milk and cream with unsweetened plant based alternatives. If using pre-sweetened options you should reduce the sugar in the recipe although you will certainly still need some.
And the of course the egg yolks will need to be replaced. This is trickier. Vegan egg replacers are available but options to just replace the yolks are fewer and far between. Plus I wouldn’t be inclined to rely on them for having any thickening qualities. As such I would increase the cornflour used in the recipe by around one third.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This recipe is free from gluten and nuts.
Dairy Free Ginger Custard: As with the vegan suggestions given above, the cream and milk can be easily replaced with plant milk/cream.
Egg Free Ginger Custard: Again I have given my thoughts and advice in the vegan option above. You could just leave the egg out and effectively have a ginger sauce in much the same way you would make a brandy sauce.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Ginger Custard
Although I often head straight for the microwave to melt ingredients or thicken sauces, this is a time to use a saucepan and the stovetop. There is too much chance of the custard splitting if it is not tended to. It does only take a few minutes so it is not that onerous.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
You can make and chill this custard to use cold up to 48 hours or so in advance. To prevent a skin from forming on the custard, cover with clingfilm (saran wrap) and make sure that the film is touching the custard directly.
You can also make it in advance to reheat at a later time. You may find that as you reheat you may need to add some extra milk to get back to your preferred consistency.
Leftover Ginger Custard
Leftovers can be stored as above. It will be fine to use for a good 4 to 5 days if kept well covered in the fridge.
Homemade Thick Ginger Custard Tips
Please do not be tempted to walk away from the custard as it is heating and thickening. You must keep stirring it to prevent hotspots and only part of the mixture thickening which can lead to it splitting.
Follow the order of my instructions exactly as I’ve written them this way for a reason. Just throwing everything in a pan together will not ensure that everything is properly combined. You could end up with stringy bits of egg or lumps of cornflour.
If anything does go wrong at any point, the answer is almost always the blender – ideally a stick blender. This will bring any split custard back together and you can then carry on heating. There is a chance that you might lose some thickness during this process. If this is the case, mix more cornflour with a little cold water and add slowly until it it thick again.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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More Custard Based Recipes
Easy Homemade Ginger Custard Recipe
- 300 ml Double Cream (Heavy Cream)
- 200 ml Milk - semi or skimmed
- 2 Eggs
- 2 tbsp Cornflour (Cornstarch)
- ½ tsp Ginger Paste
- ½ tsp Ground Ginger
- 40 g Caster Sugar (Superfine Sugar)
To Make A Thick Custard for Trifle
- Measure 300ml Double Cream into a jug and top up with 200ml Milk to make a total of 500ml of liquid. Give the milk and cream a quick stir then set aside.
- Separate the yolks from the whites of 2 Eggs. Set the yolks aside and stow the egg whites in the fridge for another time.
- Measure 2 tbsp Cornflour, ½ tsp Ginger Paste and ½ tsp Ground Ginger into a small bowl.
- Add a little of the milk/cream and mix until a paste is formed. Take care to make sure all of the cornflour is well mixed as it has a tendency to stick to the bowl at first.
- Pour the paste into a small sauce or sauté pan. Add the egg yolks and 40g Caster Sugar.
- Mix well until everything is extremely well combined.
- Add the rest of the milk/cream a little at a time until it is all mixed in.
- Heat the custard over a medium-high heat until it is starting to steam before turning the heat down to medium-low. You must stir the custard continuously making sure to scrape the bottom and the sides of the pan so that no part of the custard starts to thicken before the rest.
- The custard is ready once is will hold some shape. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Pour into a shallow dish and cover with cling film – make sure the film is touching the custard directly to ensure a skin doesn't form. Allow to cool until room temperature before putting in the fridge to fully chill.
To Make a Pouring Custard
- Either halve the cornflour in the recipe or whisk in extra milk at the end of cooking until it is your desired consistency. I like to add roughly 200ml of extra milk.
- Serve hot and skip the chilling stage.