Explore the wide world of custard, from frozen treats to fancy flans. Find out why frozen custard is the best dessert ever by reading out this list of the best custards from across the globe
Custard, a decadent dessert with origins tracing back centuries, is a velvety concoction made by gently cooking a mixture of milk, eggs, sugar, and flavorings. Its creamy texture and delicate sweetness makse it a beloved treat across cultures. From classic vanilla custard to exotic variations like crème brûlée and flan, custards have evolved to cater to diverse palates. For a mouthwatering exploration of custard's global diversity, delve into the list of the 10 best custards from around the world shared by Taste Atlas, an online travel guide on traditional food. In order of their ranking, each offers a unique twist on this delightful treat.
Frozen Custard - Wisconsin
The city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, known as the "Custard Capital of the World," is the origin of frozen custard and is the place where more of it is sold than in any other location throughout the world. It is a delicious gourmet ice cream dessert that is created with eggs, cream, and sugar. Its roots may be traced back to Coney Island in New York, where it was formerly a popular treat at carnivals.
Crème brûlée - France
Egg yolks, cream, sugar, and vanilla are the base ingredients in this classic egg custard delicacy that is topped with a crispy, burnt toffee crust. The ingredients are prepared, then poured into ramekins and poached in a bain-marie before being thoroughly chilled. The chilled custard is served on broad, shallow bowls and is generally sprinkled with brown sugar that has been caramelised in a grill or with a blowtorch.
Leche Flan - Philipines
Leche flan, a popular Filipino dish, is a caramel custard made with milk, sugar, and eggs that is then flavoured with vanilla. In the past, llaneras, or oval tin moulds, were used to achieve this shape. It's best served chilled with a drizzle of extra caramel syrup.
Zabaione - Piedmont
The delectable zabaione is a custard cream with velvety texture and relatively unknown and enigmatic origins, yet it is one of Italy's most stunning sweets. Crema di San Baylón was supposedly called after the Franciscan friar Pascual Baylón Yubero, the patron saint of pastry chefs, because he is said to have invented it in Turin around the 16th century.
Leite de crème - Portugal
Portuguese leite de creme is an egg custard with a long and storied history. Ingredients include milk, sugar, cornflour, cinnamon, chopped lemon peel, and egg yolks. Sugar and corn starch are added to the egg and milk mixture after it has been beaten. The mixture is cooked with cinnamon and lemon peel over low heat while constantly being stirred. Leite de creme is ready when it reaches a thick consistency and can be spooned into ramekins to chill. A little sugar is sprinkled on top, and then it's caramelised with a blowtorch, right before serving.
Bavarian Cream - Bavaria
Gelatin is used to thicken the custard and whipped cream is folded in for a velvety texture. It's often served chilled, and it's often topped with fresh fruit or a sweet sauce. Although the precise place of origin of Bavarian cream is unknown, it is believed to be either Germany or France.
Crema Catalana - Catalonia
Popular in Spain, Crema Catalana is a baked custard made from milk, cornflour, and eggs. After the dish has baked and cooled, the sugary topping is broiled or burned with a torch to produce a crunchy, burnt caramel texture. Because it is typically made on March 19—the feast day of Saint Joseph—the dessert is also known as Crema de Sant Josep. In addition to being the oldest custard dish in Europe, its origins may be traced back to the 14th century.
Crème caramel - France
The custard base of this classic dish is topped with a layer of gooey caramel. The French, the English, and the Spanish have all laid claim to creating crème caramel, but no one is sure where the dessert first appeared. Some have suggested that the French simply borrowed the name "custard" from the English. The famous crema Catalana was born out of a cultural interchange between the Arabs, who brought sugar cane to Europe, and the Spanish, who found how to prepare a delicate and sweet custard. On the other hand, in France, only whole milk or cream is used.
Quindim - Bahia
Quindim is a type of coconut custard cake popular in Brazil; it's created with sugar, egg yolks, and finely crushed coconut.The word "quindim" comes from the Bantu language, and its meaning is "the gestures of adolescent girls" in English. The most widely accepted explanation for the dish's inception places it in the northeast of Brazil during the 17th century, the domain of African slaves.
Flan mixto - Argentinia
Flan mixto is a traditional Argentine dessert that combines a custard flan with whipped cream and dulce de leche. The flan, like crème caramel, has a fluffy custard bottom and a sugary caramel top. The dessert is a standard at many eateries and is also frequently prepared at home.