Low-Fat Custard Sauce

Preparation info

  • Makes about

    2¾ cups

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Classic Home Desserts

By Richard Sax

Published 1994

  • About

By using low-fat milk and whole eggs instead of yolks, you can cut back substantially on the amount of fat in custard sauce, while retaining the traditional flavor and body. Note that because this sauce contains egg whites, which curdle before yolks, it should be watched very closely.


  • cups low-fat (1%) milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 strip orange zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • cup sugar


  1. Rinse a heavy nonreactive saucepan with cold water; shake dry (this helps prevent sticking). Add the milk, vanilla bean (if using vanilla extract, do not add it now) and orange zest to the pan and bring the mixture nearly to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside to steep for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Return the milk to a simmer. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until smooth but not fluffy. Gradually whisk in about ½ of the hot milk to warm the eggs. Pour all of the egg mixture into the simmering milk. Cook the custard over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, usually 7 to 8 minutes; do not allow the sauce to boil.
  3. Strain the custard into a clean bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the custard or stir in the vanilla extract. Cool briefly in the refrigerator, stirring once or twice. When chilled, cover the bowl until needed.