French Custards or Creams

1 to 1½ hour.


  • New milk, 1 quart
  • Yolks of eggs, 12
  • sugar, 6 to 8oz. Or:
  • new milk, 1 pint
  • cream, 1 pint
  • Yolks of eggs, 10
  • flavouring of orange-flowers or vanilla: simmered in water-bath,


To a quart of new milk allow the yolks of twelve fresh eggs, but to equal parts of milk and cream of ten only. From six to eight ounces of sugar will sweeten the custard sufficiently for general taste, but more can be added at will; boil this for a few minutes gently in the milk with a grain or two of salt, and stir the mixture briskly to the eggs, as soon as it is taken from the fire. Butter a round deep dish, pour in the custard, and place it in a pan of water at the point of boiling, taking care that it shall not reach to within an inch of the edge; let it just simmer, and no more, from an hour to an hour and a half: when quite firm in the middle, it will be done. A very few live embers should be kept on the lid of the stewpan to prevent the steam falling from it into the custard. When none is at hand of a form to allow of this, it is better to use a charcoal fire, and to lay an oven-leaf, or tin, cover the pan, and the embers in the centre. The small French furnace, shown., is exceedingly convenient for preparations of this kind; and there is always more or less of difficulty in keeping a coal fire entirely free from smoke for any length of time. Serve the custard cold, with chopped macaroons, or ratafias, laid thickly round the edge so as to form a border an inch deep. A few petals of fresh orange-blossoms infused in the milk will give it a most agreeable flavour, very superior to that derived from the distilled water. Half a pod of vanilla, cut in short lengths, and well bruised, may be used instead of either; but the milk should then stand some time by the fire before or after it boils, and it must be strained through a muslin before it is added to the eggs, as the small seed of the vanilla would probably pass through a sieve.

The French make their custards, which they call crémes, also in small china cups, for each of which they allow one egg-yolk, and then add sufficient milk or cream to nearly fill them; they sweeten and give them a delicate flavour; and simmer them in a pan of water until they are set.