6 Global Custard Variations To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
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Custard is a relatively straightforward but delicious sweet treat that is typically prepared by combining eggs with milk or cream. This creamy concoction is subsequently thickened, which forms into the delectable dessert that’s widely known and admired as custard. Generally, there are six broad categories that custard can be classified into; these include pastry cream, Chantilly cream, pouring custard, baked custard, and set creams.

These custard types are bound together by the ingredients used to craft them. However, they differ in other significant ways, such as preparation methods, flavourings used, and so on. It’s also important to note that some of these variations are not technically recognised as custard; but many culinary experts consider them as custard because of the similarities they share with traditional custards. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to analyse these variations as well.

Take a look at six treasured custard variations from across the globe.

Crème Patissiere

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Crème patissiere is a custard variation that’s typically characterised by its dense texture, which sets it apart from other custards. This velvety concoction gets its enticing taste profile from a bunch of ingredients, including milk, sugar, vanilla, and egg yolks. Cornflour is another significant ingredient of crème patissiere; it’s popularly used as a leavening agent. Crème patissiere usually serves as the stuffing for iconic French desserts, such as eclairs, tarts, and choux pastries.

Crème Chantilly

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A form of sweetened whipped cream, crème Chantilly isn’t traditionally recognised as a custard. However, several baking experts use this concoction extensively alongside custards; thus, many culinary connoisseurs count crème Chantilly as a separate variation of custard. This treat utilises gelatin as a stabilising agent, and it’s usually flavoured with vanilla. Crème Chantilly finds application as a topping and as a side dish in numerous desserts, including in ice creams and in milkshakes.

Crème Anglaise

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Crème anglaise is characterised by its subtly sweet sauce, which is crafted from sweetened cream and milk. The concoction is thickened using egg yolks, making crème anglaise runnier than other custard variations. Blessed with an ideal texture, crème anglaise avoids being too eggy, too milky, or too robust; it’s perfectly balanced. This dessert is usually used as garnish for cakes and breads. It also forms a foundation for other types of custards like cremeux and bavarois.

Baked Custards

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The category of baked custards is quite vast; prepared by combining eggs with cream or milk, this custard variation can be crafted in numerous ways. While baking, the custard thickens and sets well, which results in the sweet dish having a sturdy consistency. Popular examples of baked custards include tarts, pies, quiches; fancier and more specific examples of this custard variation are crème brulee, crème caramel, and flan. Baked custards are typically baked in a ramekin.

Fruit Curds

From a technical standpoint, fruit curds are not counted as custards either. However, their preparation process is quite similar to most custards, therefore bridging the gap between fruit curds and universally accepted custard variations. While most custard types are formed by blending eggs, milk or cream, fruit curds substitute the milk element with some kind of citrus juice. The mingling of the juice with eggs and sugar imbues the curds with a pillowy texture and a tangy flavour.

Set Creams

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One of the most cherished examples of set creams is the legendary panna cotta dessert. As this dish doesn’t use eggs, but gelatin as a hardening agent in its recipe, there is a heated debate about whether or not it should count as a custard. People who argue in favour of considering panna cotta as a custard typically highlight the dessert’s intricate texture, which shares several similarities with traditional custards.