Ask Pam: What’s wrong with my custard?

May 8, 2013 | By | Comments (0)
35th anniversary hummingbird cake sl x Ask Pam: Whats wrong with my custard?

35th Anniversary Hummingbird Cake

Having trouble with a recipe or technique?  Ask Pam!  She’s one of our Test Kitchen veterans.  Leave your cooking conundrum in the comment section, and it might be featured as the next problem she sleuths and solves.

A handful of readers had problems with the custard in our 35th Anniversary Hummingbird Cake; some were stuck with runny, loose custard that would “squeeze out between the layers of cake.”  Others found it to be lumpy.  Hmm…

Custard can be tricky, and the technique to achieving custard that’s thick as pudding and smooth as silk can be the difference between something as simple as stirring with a wooden spoon vs. a whisk.  In addition to the tips in any basic custard recipe, here’s a list of things to keep in mind:

1) Don’t boil the mixture (it’s okay if it’s simmering) for more than one minute.  If it boils for too long, the cornstarch (or flour) will break down and the custard will be thin.

2) For the smoothest texture, stir with a whisk.

3) Air is the enemy of a custard.  If left exposed to air, a thick skin will form on the top of your custard. To prevent the skin from forming, press plastic wrap directly onto the custard’s surface before chilling.

4) Don’t stir the custard after it has chilled, or it will lose its thick, luscious body.

Hope this helps.

- Pam Lolley

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