8 Creamy Custard Delicacies From Around The World
Image Credit: Freepik

Custard is a creamy and succulent dessert that has captured the hearts of food enthusiasts everywhere owing to its complex flavours and delicious taste. This dessert is also highly versatile as many countries have innovated their versions of custard. For example, the people of Philippines swear by a caramel-heavy custard dish called “Leche Flan.” Similarly, the French are known for the classic “Crème Brûlée” custard.

Although the preparation methods of custard plus the seasonings and toppings may vary from country to country, the basic ingredients remain the same. The components of eggs, sugar, and milk are ubiquitous to almost all custard dishes, regardless of their country of origin. Remarkably, food historians still haven’t been able to pin down the birthplace of custard, with multiple European countries vying for this honour; however, it is believed to have originated in the Middle Ages.

Let’s embark on a virtual journey of the different custard delicacies from around the world.

Crème Brûlée, France

This timeless version of custard is characterised by a crunchy and smoky toffee-flavoured crust crafted from egg yolks, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Once the concoction is prepared, it is usually transferred into single ramekins, which are subsequently poached in brain-marie. The mixture is then chilled vigorously. Lastly, the dish is sprinkled with caramelised brown sugar, which infuses the dish with its signature appearance.

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Bavarian Cream, Germany

Although this eggy custard is attributed to Germany, its place of origin is unclear. It’s speculated that French chefs may have found this recipe in Bavaria in the 18th century as the dish is believed to be the brainchild of renowned French chef Marie-Antoine Carême. Prepared using whipped cream, eggs, and gelatin, this silky smooth custard is typically garnished with fruits or sweet sauces.

Leche Flan, Philippines

As touched on above, the hero ingredient of this delightfully luscious Filipino custard dish is caramel. Prepared using eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract, this dessert gets its distinctive oval shape from the use of llaneras tin moulds. The dish should be enjoyed chilled with a garnish of leftover caramel syrup. Leche flan is a fixture during traditional Filipino parties and celebrations.

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Frozen Custard, USA

Made from eggs, cream, and sugar, this frozen delight is believed to have originated in Coney Island, New York. A crowd puller during carnivals, frozen custard is defined by its thick and tender custard base. The dessert rose to prominence in the Midwest region of the USA. In fact, Milwaukee, Wisconsin was christened the “Custard Capital of the World” because of extremely high levels of frozen custard purchases.

Zabaione, Italy

This mouthwatering treat, believed to have originated in Piedmont, is made by carefully heating a blend of egg yolks, sugar, and sweet wine. The concoction is usually whisked until it assumes a foamy, creamy custard-like texture. Zabaione is incredibly appetising owing to its crisp and refined texture; moreover, it is infused with gentle shades of wine that lend it loads of flavour and charm.

Image Credits: By stu_spivack - Flickr: local stone fruit, CC BY-SA 2.0/Wikimedia Commons

Leite de Crème, Portugal

Portugal is credited with inventing the indulgent leite de crème custard dessert. Ingredients, including milk, sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, and lemon peel are blended with egg yolks to craft this dish. After becoming texturally rich and dense, the custard concoction is transferred to ramekins for cooling purposes. The dish is topped off with small amounts of brown sugar, infused with a blowtorch, to enhance its presentation.

Pudim de Leite Condensado, Brazil

This is a sensation custard flan that’s crafted from cream and garnished with caramel. The dish has nostalgic value attached to it as many Brazilian families have their own Pudim de Leite Condensado recipes, which have been passed down generationally. Most traditional recipes incorporate the elements of sweetened condensed milk, regular whole milk, eggs, and sugar. The milk concoction is usually poured into cake pans and drenched in caramel.

Crema Catalana, Spain

Considered the oldest custard in Europe, Crema Catalana also goes by Crema de Sant Josep as this dessert is traditionally prepared in Spain on March 19 to honour Saint Josep. Comprising milk, cornstarch, and eggs, this baked treat is garnished with caramelised sugar after it has cooled. Ingredients, such as cinnamon, lemon zest, and orange zest can be added to the dessert to infuse it with extra layers of flavour.